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Scholarly Publishing

Information and resources relating to the entire scholarly publication cycle with a focus on open access

What are author rights?

Authors own the copyright to their works and must grant legal permission for them to be published. To do this, authors need only provide a license (like Creative Commons) to a publisher. This is the practice with most Open Access publications, and it enables authors to retain copyright of their work.

Traditionally, however, academic publishers have required authors to relinquish their ownership of the work and sign their copyright over to them as a condition of publication. The "copyright transfer" clause is often the first one in the publication contracts offered to authors by commercial publishers, but it is unnecessary and authors can renegotiate to retain certain rights. This page of the guide contains resources which can be helpful when negotiating publication contracts or creating contracts for new publications.

Additional rights to consider include those regarding future editions, making a copy of the work openly available online in an institutional repository, and whether there is an "embargo period" of 6 months to two years from the time of publication. 

Author rights resources

Sample publication agreements


Bargaining for Better Publication Agreements