Why Managing Your Rights as an Author is Important
Many publishing agreements transfer your copyright to the publisher in full. Researchers should thoroughly read and review their publishing agreements before signing.
As the author or creator of an original work, you automatically have copyright for it, which gives you exclusive control over how the work is reproduced, distributed, or performed. If you transfer your copyright, you no longer have control over how your work is distributed or used.
A complete transfer of copyright to the publisher can have the following impacts:
- Transferring your distribution rights may prohibit an author from publishing the work in a repository or other source as required by the terms of grant funding agencies
- Transferring reproduction, distribution, public display, or public performance rights may prohibit you from sharing your work with students, colleagues, or professional organizations.
- Transferring reproduction, distribution, public display, or public performance rights may prohibit you from sharing your work in an institutional repository or personal website, in some cases triggering receipt of a take-down notice.
- Transferring the right to make derivative works may prohibit you from creating follow-up or related works based on their own research.
Whether or not you make your scholarship available openly or not, these agreements can impact your research and limit its impact well into the future. For more general information about copyright, please see the copyright guide. If you have any questions about your publishing agreement or would like a consultation about negotiating strategies, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Scholars who sign away all rights can find themselves having to request permission from publishers to place their own articles on a personal website, in a course pack or an institutional repository, or to distribute copies to colleagues.