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Scholarly Publishing & Communication

A guide for Faculty and Librarians covering DigitalCommons@WayneState, Author's Rights, Open Access, and other related topics.

Know Your Rights as an Author

All authors of a work share copyright of that work equally, no matter where they fall in the list of authors/contributors or how much work they did. If you are listed as an author on a work, you share ownership of that work.

As an author of a work you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement. Any author can license a work for use by others, but an author can only sign away their own copyright of the work.

Assigning your rights matters

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 has to ask permission to use the work (unless the use is one of a few exemptions written into 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 have the legal right to place the work on course or personal websites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in an publicly-accessible online repository, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. That’s why it is important to retain the rights you need.

Transferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing

The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others without affecting the copyright agreements or licenses of your coauthors. This is the compromise that the Scholar's Copyright Author Addendum helps you to achieve.

Get It Right: Negotiating the Publishing Contract

Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine

Complete the form linked below to generate a PDF form that can be attached to a journal publisher's copyright agreement to ensure that the authors retain certain rights.

How to Use Scholar's Copyright Addendum

  1. Complete addendum in form above
  2. Print a copy, sign and date, attach it to your publication agreement.
  3. Sign and date publisher agreement, under signature add "Subject to attached addendum."
  4. Note in a cover letter to publisher you have added an addendum, staple all three documents together
  5. Make copies
  6. Mail originals to publisher

Author's Rights: Protect Your Copyright!

Your article has been accepted for publication in a journal. You'd like the widest distribution of your research, as it represents the culmination of years of research and hard work. Today you have other options than just print publication, like online archiving, but the publication agreement you'll likely encounter will actually prevent broad distribution of your work.

Most standard publishing agreements ask you to give away control of your copyright, limiting the future use of your article. Under a standard agreement, you may not be able to post your work to your personal website, re-use sections in later works, archive your article in DigitalCommons@WayneState, e-mail your article to colleagues, or post your article to Canvas for a class reading assignment.

WSULS would like to help you retain or regain control of your work and your rights as an author. Use the resources on this page to help you get started in this process.

Author's Rights Resources