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Author's Rights and Publishing

What is an Author Addendum?

When publishing a work, authors may negotiate which rights they retain. One option for doing this is to attach an addendum to the publishing agreement provided by the publisher. In legal documents such as a publishing contract, an addendum is an additional document that specifies provisions to the main contract.


To retain copyright but transfer limited rights to the publisher, you might replace the original language in a contract with your own language or include something similar to the following:

“The author grants to the Publisher exclusive first publication rights in the Work, and further grants a non-exclusive license for other uses of the Work for the duration of its copyright in all languages, throughout the world, in all media. The Publisher shall include a notice in the Work saying "© [Author's Name]. Readers of this article may copy it without the copyright owner's permission, if the author and publisher are acknowledged in the copy and copy is used for educational, not-for-profit purposes.”

An addendum or license such as that provided by Creative Commons would be an alternative way to retain copyright yet transfer limited rights to someone else.

You can also use the SPARC Author Addendum.

When do I use the Author Addendum?

Some journals may accept the author addendum or have a similar agreement that is substantially similar.  Please read your agreement carefully and do not agree to anything you feel would be detrimental to your rights. 

However, this could be risky depending on your status in academia or the content of your article.  The more prestige you have or how novel your research is may give you additional leverage in negotiations.   As a newer author you may not have the ability to negotiate terms and the journal may rescind their acceptance of your article. This is not meant to discourage the use of alternative agreements with publishers, but going in forewarned with this knowledge is important.