The Publication Agreement
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Open Access   Tags: oa, open access, open access week  

Last Updated: Aug 14, 2017 URL: Print Guide RSS Updates

The Publication Agreement Print Page

Retaining your rights

Academic publishing is a balance of competing interests. You are looking for exposure, and the publisher is looking for market share. You should Read the agreement so you are very clear of what the agreement is asking of you.

Some questions you need to consider are:

  • Are you signing away your copyright?
  • What rights will you be left with?
  • Will the publisher allow you to submit your work to another publisher if they reject it?
  • Can you put a copy of your paper on your own website, or make it accessible from an institutional repository such as e-publications@UNE?
  • Is there an embargo period?
  • How many electronic copies can you send to colleagues?

Exclusive arrangement with one journal may be what you are looking for, if this journal will expose your paper to the readership you desire. Check the guidelines for contributors as this states what you may and may not do with your work once it is submitted.  It is sometimes possible to negotiate with publishers at the time that your paper is accepted for publication, to ensure you retain some or all of your rights. At the very least, you should:

  • keep a copy of the agreement that you sign; and
  • request as part of the agreement the right to archive a copy of your work in epublications@UNE

Deposit-only option

Some publishers are very protective of what they perceive as their long term interests (including financial interests), and will not allow any flexibility or rights to authors seeking to use institutional repositories.

In this situation, you should still submit your research output to  UNE's institution repository, e-publications@UNE.

Repository staff will:

  •  make metadata (the record of the paper) available, including information about the location of the published version, and archive, but not make accessible, a copy of the final accepted manuscript version  
  •  provide alternative availability, such as a link to the publisher or journal website

Find out more

SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, provides resources and information about open access publishing.  See particularly the Author rights and Open Access pages


Check the publisher's policy on self-archiving

Some journal publishers allow self-archiving of post-peer review version in an institutional repository such as e-publications@UNE.    Check the publisher's policy on self-archiving before submitting your article for peer review as this could influence your decision about how to manage your copyright, and your choice of publisher.

You will usually find this information on the journal's website. Look for links called "Notes to contributors" or "Information for authors". The information could be in the publishing contract. Read it carefully before signing. Here is an example of what to look for:

The Author(s) shall have the following rights
The right to post and update the Article on e-print servers as long as files prepared and/or formatted by APS or its vendors are not used for that purpose. Any such posting made or updated after acceptance of the Article for publication shall include a link to the online abstract in the APS journal or to the entry page of the journal.
 (excerpt from the American Physical Society's transfer of Copyright form, link below).

The Sherpa RoMEO (link below) web site provides a list of publisher policies:

  • Publishers in GREEN support self-archiving of post-peer review versions.
  • Publishers in YELLOW or BLUE may support some archiving rights, and changes or exceptions can often be negotiated by authors. 

Note that you should also check your specific publisher agreement before you sign as it may be different.

If the publisher allows authors to retain the right to self-archive or if assignment of copyright is not required, your research output can be openly accessible via e-publications@UNE.

As part of the post-deposit checking process, the e-publications@UNE Team will check the publisher's generic position on open acess.  You are encouraged to submit the agreement you signed with the publisher at the time you submit your research output,  so the Team can check that we comply with any conditions you entered into

Consider amending the publication agreement

If the publisher does not allow you, as author, to self-archive a version of your research output, you could adopt one of the following strategies:

Amend the publishing agreement to reserve some rights

If the existing contract does not specifically grant authors the right to self-archive a copy of the final accepted manuscript version, it may be possible to cross out the relevant section of the existing agreement and insert a statement about the rights you wish to retain. For example:

The author transfers to {Publisher} the exclusive rights comprised in the copyright of the work, except that the author retains the following rights to:

  1. self-archive a copy of the work in the author's institutional repository
  2. make copies of all or part of the work for the author's use in teaching
  3. use, after publication, all or part of this material in works by the author in print or electronic format

Contact the publisher or journal editor to let them know what you are doing and why.

 Retain your copyright and grant the publisher a 'licence to publish'

You can choose to retain ownership of the copyright and grant the publisher an exclusive licence for the first formal publication of the work (in print, digital, or some other form).

Researchers who are employed by the US Government routinely use this strategy. They cannot assign copyright to publishers because the Government retains the copyright. It is worth noting that the publishers continue to publish articles authored by these researchers.

By granting non-exclusive rights to the publisher, the author retains the right to do any of these things without needing publisher permission.

To achieve this, cross out and replace the original exclusive transfer language 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 licence for other uses of the Work for the duration of its copyright in all languages, throughout the world, in all media.

See, in particular, the SPARC addendum (link below)

CRICOS Provider Code 00003G

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