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Open Access Guide: Author Rights

This is a guide to issues in open access, author rights, copyright, open licensing, and scholarly communication.

Resources about Author Rights

Author Rights

The SPARC Author Addendum page states:

"The author is the copyright holder. As the author of a work you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement.  Assigning your rights matters...  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." 

It is also important to note that "[t]ransferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others."

For more information about author rights, view this short video from the University of Minnesota Libraries.  The SPARC Author Rights page provides a wealth of resources on this topic. 

Know Your Rights: Who Really Owns Your Scholarly Works?

A panel discussion about how authors can manage the copyright of their scholarly works.

Bargaining for Better Publication Agreements

A discussion of issues and strategies for securing publishing agreements that respect your scholarly works.

Journal's Copyright Policies

How to find out a journal's copyright policies and the author's rights:

  • Refer to the journal's publishing or copyright transfer agreement
  • Look up the journal's copyright policies using SHERPA/RoMEO
  • Search for the journal's policies on its Web site

Authors Alliance

Authors Alliance was founded in 2014 to raise awareness of authors' rights and to "promotes authorship for the public good."  It focuses its efforts on four issues:

  1. Managing authors' rights
  2. Authorship law & policy
  3. Reaching audiences
  4. Authorial reputation & integrity

It offers an FAQ on the basics of authorship and ownership under U.S. copyright law.  It has also released a document with proposed principles for copyright reform

Below are the latest posts on the Authors Alliance Blog:

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