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Author Rights & Self-Archiving

Why Should I be Concerned about Author Rights?

Publishers may discourage or even create significant barriers for authors who want to reuse their own work, or share it with others; meanwhile, granting agencies such as CIHR and SSHRC increasingly require that work funded by them be made available openly.

Negotiating changes to standard publishing agreements can help authors to avoid or mitigate barriers to reuse and sharing, while facilitating both accountability requirements and the open sharing of scholarship that authors want to do.

Negotiating Your Author Rights*

Author Rights (SPARC) poster Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.
Minimum: Transfer copyright but reserve some rights

Before signing, strikeout and/or modify language in the publishing contract, replacing your grant of "exclusive" rights to the publisher to granting "non-exclusive" rights to the publisher. Initial your changes and submit a signed copy to the publisher. In many cases, publishers will accept such changed contracts.

Preferred: Keep copyright and transfer limited rights to the publisher

Option One: Cross out exclusive transfer of rights language in the publication contract and replace it with text such as the following:

“The author grants to the Publisher exclusive first publication rights in the Work, and further grants a non-exclusive license for other uses of the Work for the duration of its copyright in all languages, throughout the world, in all media. The Publisher shall include a notice in the Work saying '© [Author's Name].' Readers of this article may copy it without the copyright owner's permission, if the author and publisher are acknowledged in the copy and copy is used for educational, not-for-profit purposes.”

Option Two: Submit your contract together with the SPARC Author Addendum, or another addendum that meets your requirements. An addendum allows you to grant additional rights to the public, such as use of the work for non-commercial purposes provided attribution is given. This approach may foster use and extend the impact of your work.

Option Three: Creative Commons licenses allow you to communicate clearly what you intend with respect to use of your published work. 

* adapted from University of Iowa Libraries' Author Rights guide. Retrieved 2015 May 12.

Author Rights & Self-Archiving

When choosing where to submit your work for publication, one important consideration should be what rights you retain as author, or may be able to negotiate in the publishing contract.

Prioritizing your author rights is important because this determines your flexibility to decide how and where students, colleagues and the public may access your work including on your own website, in D2L or other learning management systems, or through the Library's institutional repository, VIUSpace.

If you decide to self-archive, VIUSpace offers these advantages:

  • a stable link is created that can be used to link to your work from other course or websites
  • your work can be discovered through Library search tools and through Google Scholar
  • professional application of metadata increases the "findability" of your work
  • content is backed up through the university network, reducing the potential for short term loss or loss of control
  • content is preserved through the Library's participation in a regional digital preservation network, ensuring long term preservation of digital content

SHERPA/ROMeO offers a database of author rights, searchable by journal title or publisher, that summarizes the rights that each offers and provides links to publisher websites for specific conditions, including statements that should be included with self-archived pre- or post-prints. Keep in mind that it may be possible to negotiate additional rights to those described in the database or offered in a contract.

Author Rights: Selected Tools & Resources

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