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Common Terms

Pre-Print:  Draft of the manuscript before formal peer-review, or the first version sent to the journal for consideration. Looks like a .DOX or text

Post-Print: Final version of the manuscript after formal peer-review but before being type-set by the publisher. It contains all revisions made during the peer-review process. Looks like an essay with no journal branding. 

Publisher's PDF: Version of the manuscript published in a journal with the journal's type-set and branding



Know Your Rights!

‘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. 


What Are Author Rights? 

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. 


Copyright Law Section 106 

"Exclusive rights in copyrights works"

  • To reproduce the copyrighted work in copies 
    • this allows authors to make physical and digital copies
  • To prepare derivative works based upon the copyrighted work 
    • this allows the author to write an article based on the work, a book chapter, or a new book that builds on the original research
  • To distribute copies of the copyrighted work to the public by sale or other transfer of ownership, or by rental/lease/lending 
    • this allowed the author to make physical or digital copies that can be distributed to colleagues, students, and conferences
  • In the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, and motion pictures and other audiovisual works, to perform the copyrighted work publicly
    • this allows authors to perform their works in classrooms, conferences and in public
  • In the case of literary, musical, dramatic, and choreographic works, pantomimes, motion pictures, pictorial, graphic, or sculptural works, including individual images of a motion picture or other audiovisual work, to display the copyrighted work publicly
    • this allows authors, performs or creators to show their work in exhibits, show their work in a classroom or the public setting
  • In the case of sound recordings, to perform the copyrighted work publicly by means of a digital audio transmission
    • those who work with sound recordings, this allows you to digitally transmit your work 

To view Section 106 -

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 limitations

Copyright is limited in two ways: statutorily and contractually.

Although there are several statutory limits, the two most commonly known among researchers and librarians are fair use (Section 107) and the libraries exception (Section 108). When a statutory limitation is applied, the copyright owner still owns the work and the copyright in it, but the law permits others to use the work under certain circumstances. When a copyright expires -- currently 70 years after the death of an author, although there are several nuances to this rule -- the work is no longer protected by copyright and the public can use the work in any way they desire. 

Contractual limitations arise when a copyright owner engages in a private agreement with another party that affects the ownership or use of the copyrighted work. The six exclusive rights discussed above are commonly referred to as a "bundle of rights" because copyright owners control each of the rights individually and as a group. When a copyright owner contracts with another party to permit use of their rights, the owner can give away one, some, none, or all of their rights. He or she can transfer or license the rights. He or she can enter into an exclusive or non-exclusive, irrevocable or revocable license. Because the flexibility to give away rights is so tailored-made, authors wield a lot of power in negotiating their authors rights agreements with publishers.


Care about your Author Rights!

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

  • Transferring distribution rights may prohibit an author from publishing the work in a repository or other source as required by the terms of a funding agreement
  • Transferring reproduction, distribution, public display, or public performance rights may prohibit an author from sharing their work with their students, colleagues, or professional organization
  • Transferring reproduction, distribution, public display, or public performance rights may prohibit an author from sharing their work in their institutional repository or website
  • Transferring the right to make derivative works may prohibit an author from creating follow-up or related works based on their own research
  • Transferring all copyrights means authors no longer own their work or the right to control where or how it appears
  • Transferring all copyrights may result in a publisher reusing an author's works without permission or notice.

Key concepts

Author Rights

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:

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.)

Authors' obligations

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: 

  • the types of data, samples, physical collections, software, curriculum materials, and other materials to be produced in the course of the project;
  • the standards to be used for data and metadata format and content (where existing standards are absent or deemed inadequate, this should be documented along with any proposed solutions or remedies);
  • policies for access and sharing including provisions for appropriate protection of privacy, confidentiality, security, intellectual property, or other rights or requirements;
  • policies and provisions for re-use, re-distribution, and the production of derivatives; and
  • plans for archiving data, samples, and other research products, and for preservation of access to them.

A FAQ on data management and more information on specific data management plan requirements by NSF Directorate is available.

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.

HHMI Policy

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.

Resources: Author Rights & Copyright

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.

  • Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine
    The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine will help you generate a PDF form that you can attach to a journal publisher's copyright agreement to ensure that you retain certain rights.
    Use this site to find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of different publishers' copyright transfer agreements.
  • Columbia Copyright Advisory Office
    This well organized site covers a wide range of copyright issues, including publication agreements.
  • Stanford Copyright and Fair Use
    A guide to all things copyright from Stanford University Libraries.
  • Crash Course in Copyright
    Tutorial on copyright created by Georgia Harper, University of Texas System.
  • Creative Commons
    Creative Commons provides free tools that let authors, scientists, artists, and educators easily mark their creative work with the freedoms they want it to carry.
  • Author Rights (PDF)
    A SPARC brochure on author rights and the use of the author's addendum.
  • Author's Rights, Tout de Suite (PDF)
    An introduction to key aspects of authorʹs rights by Charles W. Bailey, Jr.

Adapted from

    Cost Effectiveness for Open Access Journals

    Powered by and this site provides an overivew that can help authrors decide which open access journals provide the most valie per price.

    Cost Effectiveness of Open Access Journals

    Cost Effectiveness of Open Access Journals