Scholarly Communication

Information for faculty and administrators on academic publishing

Author Rights

Traditional publication agreements usually require authors to relinquish all rights, including copyright, to the journal in which their article is published. In Open Access (OA) publishing, you have more options to keep your copyright. But, there are methods for keeping your copyright even with traditional publishing.

The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that you can use to modify your copyright transfer agreements with non-open access journal publishers. It allows you to select which individual rights out of the bundle of copyrights you want to keep, such as:

  • Distributing copies in the course of teaching and research,
  • Posting the article on a personal or institutional Web site, or
  • Creating derivative works.

SHERPA/RoMEO is an online resource that aggregates and analyzes publisher open access policies and provides summaries of self-archiving permissions and conditions of rights given to authors.  Use the SHERPA/RoMEO publisher copyright policies & self-archiving search tool to determine whether the journal in which you are considering publishing will allow you to keep your rights.

Creative Commons provides free, easy-to-use copyright licenses to make a simple and standardized way to give the public permission to share and use your creative work-on conditions of your choice.  

The licenses include options for creators to retain copyright while allowing others to copy, distribute, and make some uses of their work-at least non-commercially.  The licenses also ensures that licensors get the credit for their work they deserve.

Think, Check, Submit

The standards for choosing an open access journal should be the same as the standards you use for any journal. Think, Check, Submit is a good campaign to start with.


Are you submitting your research to a trusted journal?
Is it the right journal for your work?

Use the check list to assess the journal


Only if you can answer ‘yes’ to the questions on the check list