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Scholarly Communication: Authors' Rights

What is scholarly communication? This guide serves as an introduction to open access publishing as well as a guide to facilitate scholarly communication and collaboration.

Rights Database

Search SHERPA's ROMEO database for the summaries of author rights for particular journals or publishers.

Search SHERPA's JULIET database for the summaries of open access mandates, policies, expectations, restrictions, etc. for particular funding and granting agencies.

Open Access v. Copyright

Scholarly Attribution and Citation - PPT

Choose a License

SIX MAIN CC LICENSE COMBINATIONS based on the 4 basic restrictions/allowances.

cc-by:  Only attribution is expected

cc-by-sa:  Attribution, plus the expectation that you will allow others to share alike

cc-by-nc:  Attribution, but no commercial use allowed

cc-by-nd:  Attribution, but no derivative works allowed

cc-by-nc-sa:  Attribution, plus no commercial use allowed, and the expectation that you will allow others to share alike

cc-by-nc-nd:  Attribution, plus no commercial use allowed, and no derivative works allowed


Attribution (by)

ShareAlike (sa)

NonCommercial (nc)

NoDerivatives (nd)

Working with the Publisher to retain certain author rights

Your intellectual property rights begin with you! 

Many authors don't realize they can negotiate to retain certain rights to their created works simply by executing a copyright transfer agreement author's addendum as described by SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition)

Site includes a downloadable template for you to begin to draft the rights you will retain as an author.

Copyright Transfer - How To

Browse some typical publisher copyright transfer agreements.  For example, look at this CTA from Elsevier. (downloadable pdf)

As an author, look for the following before signing a CTA:

  • does the publisher gain exclusive or non-exclusive right to your work?
  • is there a provision for depositing your work into an OA repository? 
  • only after a certain time period?
  • which form of your final work (if any) may you retain for publishing elsewhere?
    • the final, edited, peer-reviewed copy?
    • the final (un-edited) peer-reviewed copy?
  • in either case, do you retain rights to any of your charts, data and tables, etc?

These items are negotiable!