The scholarly publishing world is changing and authors are now able to make publishing choices that give them more control of their work and its accessibility, balancing their rights as an author with publisher rights.
Copyright ownership and what you as an author can do with your work will be impacted by the publishing agreements you sign. Consider the following:
The publication version that can be deposited into an institutional repository (commonly known as “self-archiving”) varies according to publisher policies; it may be the pre-print, post-print (also known as an Author’s Accepted Manuscript, or AAM) or sometimes even the final published version. Often it is the AAM version that can be self-archived, but always check your publication agreement or seek clarification from the publisher if you are unsure.
If you do not have a copy of your AAM, you can request a copy from the publisher using the following suggested wording:
“Could you please provide me with a copy of the revised, peer-reviewed personal version of the paper (the Author’s Accepted Manuscript, or post-print, version).”
If you are not the corresponding author, you should contact the corresponding author for a copy of the AAM in the first instance.
When publishing open access, authors can often choose to licence their work with a Creative Commons licence. Creative Commons licences allow reuse (some with conditions) while protecting the authors' rights of acknowledgment as authors, and enabling authors to retain copyright of their work.
The most commonly used Creative Commons licences in open access publishing are:
The UWA Research Integrity Policy encourages the use of CC BY licences; see section 10(B)(9): "Researchers will - make publications available on Open Access under the most appropriate Creative Commons licence, and preferably the CC BY licence." Regardless of which licence is selected, the author/s retain copyright of the article.
Some points to consider when selecting a licence include:
If a publishing agreement does not specifically grant you the right to self-archive a copy of the AAM, it may be possible to cross out the relevant section of the existing agreement and insert a statement about the rights you wish to retain.
The UWA Research Integrity Policy states (section 10(B)(4)):
avoid transferring copyright to the publisher and ensure publication contracts allow self-archiving of the Author's accepted manuscript in the UWA Profile and Research Repository. If self-archiving is not included the publisher contract, then University Authors will request inclusion of the following addendum -
The author has the right to publicly archive their revised, peer reviewed personal version of their paper in their institutional repository, provided a link to the version on the publisher website is included.
If you do this, ensure you contact the publisher or journal editor to let them know what you are doing and why. If you amend the agreement you need to ensure that the publisher/journal editor acknowledges – and agrees to – the amendments in order for them to be valid.
For more information on publishing agreements and copyright, see the University Library’s Copyright and publishing webpage.
Developing a publishing plan at the outset of your research journey will provide a tool for managing your copyright ownership effectively. Below are links to resources to help you make informed publishing decisions:
This brief video, produced by the Institute on Scholarly Communication in association with SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), explains how researchers can maximize exposure and dissemination for their peer-reviewed article manuscripts.