Copyright - Authors


Author Rights


Some fee-based journal publishers allow authors to deposit pre-print (original manuscript) and/or post-print (final peer-reviewed author’s version) versions of their research articles in a repository. However, some do not. Before signing a publication agreement, it’s important for authors to understand that copyright is a bundle of rights. Authors can negotiate with publishers to retain more rights to their research than granted in publication agreements.


An author may choose to start by learning more about a publisher’s copyright policy. Does the policy allow archiving in a repository? Does the policy allow posting of publisher PDFs online? If an author chooses, he or she can take steps to retain more rights than granted in a publication agreement prior to entering into a contract with a publisher. Attaching an author addendum to an agreement can help authors retain key rights, such as the right to post versions of the article online or to share copies with students and colleagues.


If a publication agreement has already been signed, it may still be possible to make a work open access. The SHERPA/RoMEO database includes copyright information on self-archiving for most publishers, including compliance with different funding agency requirements and policies and conditions on archiving pre-prints, post-prints, and publisher formatted PDF versions of an article.


An author can also assign a Creative Commons license to a work, adding a work to the public domain or specifying rights granted to the public to share, perform, or reuse.




Scholarly Communication Toolkit: “Promoting a Shared System of Research and Scholarship” Author Rights: Regaining Control Author Rights: Managing Copyrights Author Rights: More information


For authors interested in retaining more rights to their research, the Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine gives you four addendum options and helps you create a PDF to attach to your publisher copyright transfer agreement. To learn more about your publishers’ copyright policies with regard to self-archiving, visit the SHERPA/RoMEO database. The database links out to copyright policies and identifies which versions of an article are permitted for archiving on the web or in a repository.


To learn more about the five exclusive rights granted by the U.S. Copyright Act to copyright owners:


To learn more about Creative Commons or to assign CC licenses to your work:


To learn more about author rights in general: “Authors’ Rights and Copyright”, by the Association of College and Research Libraries,


USG Copyright Policy


USG on Fair Use