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Scholarly Communication & Publishing: Author Rights

Information concerning Open Access, copyright, predatory publishers, impact factors, altmetrics, author rights, public access policy and data management plans.

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Author Rights

When publishing an article in a subscription access journal you are almost always asked, or even required to give up some or all of your copyrights to that publisher. This does not have to be the case. Familiarizing yourself with your rights as an author and utilizing resources that support those rights can allow you to maintain control of your own work after publication. Many organizations have been formed to assist in this cause.


SPARC is a global organization that supports Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education causes. Under SPARC there is a  project to help authors to know about and retain their copyrights. Below is a summary of author rights and a link to the SPARC Author Addendum. Please visit the entire SPARC author's rights webpage for more resources and information.

Know Your Rights as the Author

  • The author is the copyright holder and remains the copyright holder unless and until the copyright is transferred to someone else in a signed agreement.
  • Normally, the copyright holder possesses the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, and modification of the original work. An author who has transferred copyright without retaining these rights must ask permission unless the use is one of the statutory exemptions in copyright law.
  • The copyright holder controls the work. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, pricing, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the copyright holder. Authors who have transferred their copyright without retaining any rights may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. 
  • Transferring copyright does not have to be all or nothing. The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others. This is the compromise that the SPARC Author Addendum helps you to achieve.

SPARC Author Addendum

The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal document authors can use to change copyright transfer agreements with journal publishers. It allows you to select which rights you would like to keep for you own work.

SPARC Author Addendum (PDF)

Creative Commons

Creative Commons is an organization that supports Open Access while ensuring creator rights. They provide free, easy-to-use copyright licenses that allow public use, but also allow for limited access at the author's discretion --from Creative Commons website

Creative Commons Website

Creative Commons Science Commons

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