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Author's Rights and Publishing

Retaining Rights and Open Access

Many funding organizations require that their grant recipients submit an electronic copy of their research works for deposit into an openly accessible repository determined by the funding organization. To comply with this type of mandate, authors should retain as many rights as they can. Doing so allows the author to determine how their works can be reused without having to seek permission from the publisher.

What Rights Should Authors Retain?

Authors may choose to transfer copyright and negotiate to reserve specified rights through a contract in combination with an addendum or they may retain copyright and transfer limited rights to the publisher through licenses, such as Creative Commons.

To transfer copyright but reserve some rights as an author, you might

  • Modify contract language, such as granting "non-exclusive" rights instead of "exclusive rights." When a license is not exclusive, it means that rights may also be granted to others.

  • Keep distribution rights and the rights to produce derivative works

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.