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Copyright Guide

Open Access

Open Access journals allow authors to retain copyright for their work. Usually open access articles are made available under a Creative Commons License (CCL), so an author would need to check with the publisher on the type of CCL when submitting an article for publication. 

For Hybrid Open Access journals, the author or institution is usually required to pay an Article Processing Fee (APC) for the article to be made open access. In such a case, the author retains copyright. The author can also choose not to publish an article as open access to save paying the APC, but copyright in this case would usually need to be transferred to the publisher.  

Retain your rights

Most publishers require the author to transfer their copyright to the publisher. This can create significant barriers for authors who want to use or allow others to use their work. It is important, therefore, to review the publisher copyright agreements and understand what rights the publisher allows the authors to retain.

Before signing any transfer agreements, authors are encouraged to negotiate with the publishers to retain certain rights: 

  1. Right to Reproduce

    e.g., make physical or digital copies of a work for colleagues, students, or others

  2. Right to Distribute

    ​​e.g., distribute physical or digital copies of a work to colleagues, students, or at conferences

  3. Right to Prepare Derivative Works

    e.g. prepare subsequent works such as an article, a chapter, or a book that builds upon the publication 

  4. Right to Display Publicly (related to artistic works)

    e.g. show photos, exhibits, and figures from a work in the classroom 

  5. Right to deposit a digital copy in an institutional repository or funding agency repository.

Self-archiving/deposit in an Institutional repository

Self-archiving occurs when an author deposits online a free copy of a document in order to provide open access. One way of doing this is to deposit a copy of the document in an institutional repository. 

Find out the different publisher self-archiving policies by looking up the journal title on Sherpa Romeo. This database contains information about the terms and conditions of many journals and publishers.

If the journal is not listed in Sherpa Romeo, you may find self-archiving terms and conditions on the journal's website, or in any agreement with the publisher.