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Retaining Author Rights

What are Your Rights as an Author?

As the author of an article, you (and any co-authors), are the owner(s) of the copyright in that work.  This means that you have the exclusive right to use that work - to distribute it, publish it, make copies of it, share it, etc. Most publishers' when accepting your article for publication require a Copyright Transfer Agreement. Signing this agreement may limit your ability to use and share your work, and you may need to seek permission from the publisher to make uses such as placing your work in a course pack, placing copies on print or electronic reserves, posting a copy on your website, or distributing copies to colleagues.


What Can You Do?

Find Out What Rights the Journal Usually Provides

Sherpa: Search by journal title, publisher or ISSN to review the default copyright and self-archiving policies for publishers and journals (individual authors may have negotiated different rights). Determine the rights you may still hold to your work and/or your ability to post and share your article once published.

Use an Author's Addendum to the Copyright Transfer Agreement

An author addendum is a legally-binding document used to modify the terms of a journal/publisher's Copyright Transfer Agreement.


Where Do I Get an Author Addendum?

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) together with Science Commons has created standard addendums (for immediate releasedelayed release and access-reuse) that may be used by faculty/authors in any discipline (and with any publication).  It is a simple matter to complete the addendum and attach it to the publisher's CTA before submitting it.

How to Use the SPARC/Science Commons Author Addendum 

  1. Select and print the Science Commons Author Addendum of your choice from our Addendum Engine.
  2. On the printed version of the Addendum you have chosen, fill in the name of your article, the journal name, the authors’ names, and the publisher’s name, as indicated.
  3. Sign and date the Author’s Addendum.
  4. Sign and date the publisher’s agreement. Immediately below your signature on the publisher’s form, write: “Subject to attached Addendum.” This is very important because you want to make clear that your signature is a sign that you accept the publisher’s agreement only if the publisher accepts your Addendum.
  5. Make a copy of all three documents (the publisher’s form, your Addendum, and your cover letter) for your records.
  6. Staple the three original documents together.
  7. Mail the three original documents to the publisher.



And Once You've Kept Those Rights, Practice Self-Archiving using PDXScholar

If you have retained sufficient rights, you can post your article in PSU Library's PDXScholar repository. PDXScholar provides open access to a diverse collection of academic, scholarly, scientific and creative content produced by faculty, students and staff of Portland State University. PDXScholar can increase the visibility your work, maximizing impact, facilitates interdisciplinary research, and provides regional and global communities with immediate and permanent access. For more information about PDXScholar and whether your work can be posted in the repository, contact Karen Bjork, Digital Initiatives Librarian.


Get More Information

SPARC Resources for Authors 
Practical guidance when submitting journal articles; help to negotiate author's rights and alternative publishing options
Science Commons Author Addendum FAQ
Creative Commons Licensing Guide  
Share your work widely for more impact by licensing others to copy, distribute and/or transmit the work. An easy-to-use License Chooser is available.

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