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Author's Rights

Understanding Your Rights

Reading and understanding your publication agreement (sometimes called a copyright transfer agreement) is important to make sure that your work can have the widest distribution possible and that you retain all of the rights you want. For example, some traditional publication agreements prevent you from distributing the work to colleagues, including a portion in a future publication, meet grant requirements for open access, or placing a copy on your website. Some agreements can be very short and may not detail the rights you are signing away. Here is an example of one such agreement:

Finding Journal Copyright Policies

SHERPA/RoMEO summarizes journal copyright transfers and permissions by journal title for each version of the manuscript.

In this example, for the Journal of Popular Culture, the author has different rights based on which version of the manuscript they are interested in using and if they have paid to publish open access.

Publisher versions for the journal of pop culture

When you click on a version, such as the accepted version (this version has been peer-reviewed but doesn't have any journal formatting applied to it), you'll see more detail about what you can do with your manuscript.

In this case, after 24 months, you can place the peer-reviewed copy on an author website or in an institutional repository as long as you link to the publisher's version as well.

accepted manuscript permission icons


Creative Commons

Creative Commons licenses are a way to modify and indicate how others can use your content. This can be used to signal to others that they don't need to ask to remix something you've created, provided they include attribution. The licenses standardize ways to give the public permission to share and use your work on the conditions of your choice. These licenses are not an alternative to copyright and work alongside copyright.

creative commons license chooser screenshot