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Author's Rights

Who owns the copyrights to my work?

Copyrights are the rights afforded to the author or authors of a work in regard to how that work can be used, displayed, and distributed. Until the original author or authors transfer their copyrights to another party (via a written contract or publisher's copyright agreement, for example) the copyrights for a work remain with them.

How can I retain rights to my work but also publish it in journals?

Authors can negotiate with publishers to retain certain rights-for example, the right to post a copy of your published work to your website-with the assistance of a copyright addendum. For  information on author addenda, see the SPARC Author Addendum online  and Peter Hirtle's discussion and comparison of these kinds of addenda in DLIB magazine.

Where can I find out what the copyright agreements are for the journals in which I have already published?

RoMEO: Publisher Copyright Policies and Self-Archiving is a tool that was created by SHERPA to assist authors in tracking down and understanding the copyright and self-archiving policies for specific academic journals.

Where can I learn more about my rights as an author?

Create Change is a resource devoted to helping authors share their work that was developed by the Association of Research Libraries and SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) and is supported by the Association of College and Research Libraries.

The Association for Research Libraries also hosts a page with information on Authors' Rights and Copyrights that scholars will find useful.

The University of California presents Seven Points to Understand About Copyright.

Washington University in St. Louis has a detailed FAQ on Authors' Rights that expands on much of what is discussed here.

US Copyright Office, specifically the Frequently Asked Questions about Copyright, is quite a useful resource as well. See also their Taking the Mystery Out of Copyright presentation.

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