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Open Research: Managing Your Rights

Author Rights

It is important to understand your rights as an author for any of the work you have had published or wish to share with the public. The shift towards open access has forced the scholarly publishing world to change and make concessions to allow authors to share their work more freely. This gives the author more choices and control over their work. Copyright ownership and author rights will be impacted by the publishing agreement you sign on submission. When looking to publish your work it is important to consider the following when reviewing publisher agreements or finding the right journal/publisher:

  • Does the publisher support green open access?
  • Does the publisher provide you with a copy the author’s accepted manuscript so you can share this work via green open access?
  • Does this journal/publisher limit future publishing of that work in any way?
  • Does the publisher allow you to include any version of the published article in your thesis (particularly when thesis must be shared on an online repository)?

Author Addendums

If you have already published your work and would like to make it open access, it is important to make sure you adhere to the copyright obligations agreed to in your publication agreement. If you are looking to publish with a traditional academic journal, most require the author to agree to a publication agreement which usually involves the author transferring their copyright interest in the article over to the journal publisher. This can make it difficult to make your open access after publication.

Publication agreements differ between publishers so always make sure you read your agreement carefully before agreeing.

You can also negotiate with your publisher to retain some of your rights by adding an addendum to your publication agreement either before or after publication. SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) have developed a free, downloadable Author Addendum, for more information or to download a copy, visit their site.

Managing Book Rights

If you have written a book that has gone out of circulation, out of print or just isn't having the impact you had hoped using a traditional publisher why not consider making that content available using an open access license? By making your book open access via creating or re-releasing a digital edition you can share your content with a wider audience. With the world embracing open research more there is no better time for an author to re-evaluate their publishing options.

Not sure what to say to your publisher when requesting a revisit or change to your publishing agreement? The Authors Alliance is an organisation that help authors understand and manage the rights necessary to make their works broadly available now and in the future. They have dedicated tools and resources for authors to earn the language needed and gain understanding of their rights to request key concepts for their publishing agreement like rights reversion, fair use and termination of transfer. Check out their website for more information.

Creative Commons Licensing

When publishing open access, authors can often choose to licence their work with a Creative Commons license. Creative Commons licenses allow reuse (some with conditions) while protecting the authors' rights of acknowledgment as authors, and enabling authors to retain copyright of their work.

There are six different Creative Commons licenses in open access publishing and each allows for different permissions in regarding reuse and attributions. The six licenses listed from most to least permissive are:

BY relates to 'Attribution', in all six licenses the user must attribute the work to the author. SA stands for 'Share Alike' which means that if you adapt the work in any way you must share that work under the same license as the original adapted work. NC stands for 'Non Commercial', this means that the work can be reused or adapted for noncommercial purposes only. ND stands for 'No Derivatives' which gives users permission to share the work in an unadapted format only, they cannot adapt or change the work in any way. 

For help when selecting the right license for your work, visit the Creative Commons license chooser.

Still unsure what Creative Commons Licensing means and which one is right for you? Watch the video below:

HDR Students and Copyright

Are you a HDR student looking to complete a thesis by publication and wondering if you are allowed to include your publications? Or have found the perfect image/poster/graph/table to include in your thesis but you're not sure if including it breaches copyright? Watch the webinar below hosted by the Library's Copyright Advisor, Anthony O'Brien.