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Copyright for Scholarly Authors: Which Rights Should Authors Keep When Publishing?

When is the crucial decision about what rights to keep when submission of work to a commercial publisher who is not open access? The right time to think about which rights should be kept among the bundle of copyrights is when the author receives the copyright agreement sent by the publisher after the article or other work is accepted for publication. A careful assessment of the agreement is of primary importance.  An understanding of which rights the publisher wants is the underlying information that is necessary.  After understanding which rights the publisher expects the author to grant, the author must assess which rights should be retained.  This means clear thinking about how the author expects to use the work in the future, and which rights will assure that the author can use the work in the ways that are
expected.

The rights of copyright are spelled out in Chapter 1, Section 106 of Title 17 of the U.S. Code.

The author must decide if the publisher should be granted more rights than the right to publish (make and distribute copies for profit) the particular version of the work that has been submitted.

The web sites below have been developed by the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) to help scholarly authors make decisions regarding their rights and the rights they wish to grant to publishers.

Seizing the Moment:Scientists' Authorship Rights in the Digital Agereport, prepared by the American Association for the Advancement of Science, calling for authors to use their leverage to negotiate licensing agreements that maximize access to and dissemination of their work.

Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving- A convenient summary listing of permissions that are normally given as part of individual publishers' copyright transfer agreements. From the ROMEO and SHERPA projects in the United Kingdom.

Reserving Rights of Use in Works Submitted for Publication: Negotiating Publishing Agreements- Practical guidance on managing your copyright from the Copyright Management Center of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

Copyright Management for Scholarship: Key Issues & Good Practices: Agreements - A review of issues commonly confronted when considering the assignment of your rights undercopyright, from the Zwolle Group, an international working group on copyright in academe

Source:Scholarly Pubishing and Academic Resources Coalition's Introduction to Copyright Resources page

blog post created by Lorre Smith