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Useful Documents

Publisher Methods

Once you have your work and want to publish it, you should be aware of the numerous tactics used by publishers prior to submitting your work. 


Sherpa/RoMEO is a great resource and is a free database containing copyright and self-archiving policies for thousands of journals. You can search by ISSN, title, and publisher. It will also indicate various OA color schemas to indicate archiving polices. Sherpa/RoMEO gathers this information from publishers' sites. 

Homepage of SHERPA/RoMEO where you can search for Open Access journals by title and ISBN.

The journal Scientific America on SHERPA/RoMEO site. It shows the publisher and what form of the paper can be deposited to an institutional repository.

Author Agreements

You always want to analyze your author agreement in detail and don't be afraid to ask the experts at the Brandeis Library for help or clarification. Throughout the submission process, author agreements can come in numerous forms and at different stages. For instance, some publishers have a "click-through" agreement that they have when submitting your work through their online portal. Some are regular documents that need to be printed and signed by the author when their work is accepted.  As you go through an author agreement you want to be on the lookout for some "tricky" language or problematic statements: 



  • "Copyright to article and any graphic elements assigned to [publisher] upon acceptance of article for publication."
  • "Copyright agreement includes the exclusion, assignable, sublicensable right to reproduce, publish, distribute, transmit, make available, store the article." 
  • "Article may be used in whole or in part in electronic, print, or download. Includes the right to alter the article to the extent necessary for such us. 
  • "Authors need only to sign the transfer of copyright agreement without any amendments or substitutions in order to be fully compliant with institutional repository requirements, such as those imposed by [name] universities"
  • "Contributor assigns to [publisher] all copyright in and to the contribution, including but not limited to the right to publish, republish, transmit, sell, distribute, and otherwise use the contribution in whole or in part in electronic and print editions of the journal and in derivative works throughout the world, in all languages and in all media of expression now known or later developed, and to license or permit others to do so." 
    • This type of statement is a Default transfer
  • "Electronic signature provides agreement to transfer policy, despite the fact the article has not been accepted until upload later in the process"
  • "The right to post on authors' institutional or governmental website is permitted only to whatever extent is required by the author(s) institution or by whoever funded the research reported in the paper" 
  • "Copyright transfer agreement provides that author transfer [publisher] the management of rights and permissions associated with your work, which includes defending against improper use by third parties. Copyright licensing agreement provides that author grants [publisher] permission to manage the rights and permission associated with your work, and gives [publisher] the right, but not the obligation, to defend your work against improper use by third parties." 


Some clauses in Author agreements are beneficial for authors. 

  • Authors grant to [publisher] an exclusive license to publish. Authors may use their material in other publications provided [publisher] is acknowledged as the original place of publication and [publisher] is notified in advance.
  • Publisher permits author to apply Creative Commons licenses to their published works so long as proper attribution is given to [publisher].
  • Authors retain right to use all or part of their articles, including publisher’s PDF, in personal compilations or other publications of his/her own works, including the author’s personal web pages, for use in lecture, or classroom purposes. Must provide complete citation and describe any modifications.
  • Authors retain broad rights despite copyright transfer, including the rights to (1) Reuse figures, illustrations, tables, (2) Make free copies for personal and classroom use, (3) Make, distribute copies to colleagues, (4) Present at a meeting, conference, distribute copies to those attending, (5) Use work in printed compilation of author’s works, (6) Prepare other derivative works.

Sample Author Agreements

Below are some examples of author agreements