‘Author’s rights’ concerns the ability of the author of a work to transfer or retain (full or partial) rights that influence how their work is disseminated. Many publishers' agreements ask Authors to surrender their rights in order to have their work published. Depending on your agreement, you may not be able to publish your scholarly research anywhere else, re-use portions of your articles, or even use your work in your own classes.
The Brandeis Library is here to help. We have experts to help you navigate publisher agreements and maintain control over your work.
The term 'Author Rights' and 'Literary Rights' are often used to refer to copyrights. Copyrights are legal rights that relate to certain types of intellectual property. Federal Law grants authors of creative works at the time of a work's creation. Remember - Authors do not have to apply for or file for copyright.
"Exclusive rights in copyrights works"
What are exclusive rights?
Copyright law states that only a copyright owner may engage in the six aforementioned rights. However, because knowledge and society would fail to progress if only a copyright owner could engage with copyrighted works, there are two ways in which others are legally permitted to use copyrighted works. These are referred to as copyright limitations.
Copyright is limited in two ways: statutorily and contractually.
The glamour of getting your work published in a scholarly journal is a dream come true for many, but when you naively sign away your copyrights to a publisher, you give them ALL copyrights. All Authors should read their publishing agreements thoroughly and carefully. Don't hesitate to reach out to the Brandeis Library for support and guidance through this process.
Things to keep in mind
Open Access: a publications funding model that does not charge readers or their institutions for access. Users have the right to "read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles." Source: http://www.earlham.edu/~peters/fos/boaifaq.htm#openaccess
Copyright: the law protecting a work that is original and recorded in some permanent form. Examples of types of works protected by copyright law include books, journal articles, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, songs and other audio & visual recordings, and software programs. See Copyright Libguide for more information.
Scholarly Communications: the creation, transformation, dissemination and preservation of knowledge related to teaching, research and scholarly endeavors. Issues covered by scholarly communications include author rights, the economics of scholarly resources, new models of publishing including open access, institutional repositories, rights and access to federally funded research, and preservation of intellectual assets.
Embargo: a ban or prohibition, in this case on the publication of work for copyright reasons.
Creative Commons Licenses (CCL): A Creative Commons license is based on copyright and can apply to all works that are protected by copyright law. "Creative Commons licenses give you the ability to dictate how others may exercise your copyright rights—such as the right of others to copy your work, make derivative works or adaptations of your work, to distribute your work and/or make money from your work. They do not give you the ability to restrict anything that is otherwise permitted by exceptions or limitations to copyright—including, importantly, fair use or fair dealing—nor do they give you the ability to control anything that is not protected by copyright law, such as facts and ideas." (Source: Creative Commons Frequently Asked Questions, last accessed June 4, 2009.)
As part of the Open Access movement to make research available at no cost to the reader, several grant funding agencies and organizations now require Open Access publication of your work resulting from funded research. Compliance is mandatory and often includes reporting requirements.
National Science Foundation (NSF) Data Management Plan Requirements, effective January 18, 2011
Grant proposals submitted to the NSF must now contain a supplementary "Data Management Plan" document. This brief document should indicate how the proposal will adhere to NSF policy on the dissemination and sharing of research results, and may include:
National Institutes of Health (NIH) Public Access Mandate, effective April 7, 2008
This U.S. law requires all NIH funded researchers to submit or have submitted for them an electronic copy of their final peer-reviewed manuscript to PubMed Central (PMC), the digital repository maintained by the National Library of Medicine. The manuscript will be made publicly available no later than 12 months after the official date of publication.
The Policy applies to you if your peer-reviewed article is based on work in one or more of the following categories:
1. Directly funded by NIH grant or cooperative agreement active in Fiscal Year 2008 (October 1, 2007-September 30, 2008) or beyond;
2. Directly funded by a contract signed on or after April 7, 2008;
3. Directly funded by the NIH Intramural Program;
4. If NIH pays your salary.
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), effective January 1, 2008
The Howard Hughes Medical Institute has long viewed the sharing of research materials and tools as a fundamental responsibility of scientific authorship. That principle also extends to ensuring that original, peer-reviewed research publications and supplemental materials are freely accessible within six months of publication.
For a more complete list of funder and institutional mandates, see ROARMAP, Registry of Open Access Repository Material Archiving Policies.
Below is a chart of North American Institutions creating policies toward OA.
Publication agreements often require authors to give up all or many of their intellectual property rights as a condition of publication. This limits your ability as an author to legally distribute or reuse your work. However, understanding copyright and using tools such as the SPARC Author Addendum can help you negotiate with publishers to retain as many of your rights as possible.