The Repository team check all copyright agreements for all full text (and non textual) publications and items before these are made publicly available. Many publishers permit authors to post a copy of their research output onto an institutional web site. Most allow the author’s ‘Accepted Version’ of the article to be used rather than the ‘Published Version’, e.g. final PDF. The ‘Accepted Version’ is the author-created version that incorporates referee comments and is the accepted for publication version. Some publishers do not allow authors to post a copy of their article onto an institutional website - to do so would be to breach your copyright agreement; in this case publications will not be made available in the repository. Those publishers who allow published material to be placed in the repository will usually require a copyright statement to be visible in the repository entry and the Repository Team will add this.

Copyright Transfer Agreement

After submitting a scholarly work to a publisher, the publisher will require you to sign a publication agreement. Authors should review carefully any copyright transfer agreements they are asked to sign, making sure you understand how you will be able to use your work before and after publication.

If the agreement is signed without retaining any rights, the author will have to later obtain permission from the publisher to use the work for:

  • Teaching and use in course packs
  • Creating derivative works
  • Re-use of excerpts in other works
  • Posting the work on an author website or in an institutional repository
  • Making copies of the work for colleagues

Some publishers may offer the option to sign a License to Publish rather than a Copyright Transfer Agreement. This may permit the author to retain rights not offered if the CTA is signed.

Author Addendum

The rights you retain depend on the nature of the agreement you sign with your publisher. If you wish to retain rights over your work and are unhappy with your publisher's proposed terms and conditions, it's possible to suggest amendments to your publisher. One way to do this is by using the SPARC Author's Addendum: this can be used to amend the form the publisher asks you to sign. In this way, you can retain the right to make your article available in the repository.

Publisher Copyright Policies

Consider the publisher’s copyright policies when choosing a publisher for your work. Of course there are other important factors affecting the choice, such as the journal’s relative impact in the field, the journal’s quality, and the target audience. To find publisher policies, browse the SHERPA/RoMEO site, which lists copyright and self-archiving policies over 600 publishers.

Note also that the situation regarding publisher policies can change. The publisher's own website may give information on self-archiving permissions for authors. If you are unsure of the copyright position, contact the Repository Team for assistance. In some cases it will be necessary to seek archiving permission directly from the publisher concerned.

Many publishers will be willing to discuss copyright agreements with authors, and may be willing to give self-archiving permission if approached directly. The Repository Team can write to publishers on your behalf to ask for permission to deposit specific articles in the repository. Be aware, though, that even when copyright is not retained by the author, most publishers allow their authors to self-archive.

Scanning the printed version

If you have print copies of your manuscripts, scanning them is a great way to get them into the Repository, if you are unable to scan your own copies, contact the Repository Team for assistance. However, if you only have the published version, you will need to ensure that any self-archiving permission from your publisher allows you to scan the work. If in doubt, check with the publisher direct.

The Repository Team can provide advice on copyright issues.