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Open Access Publishing

Information and guidance about open access scholarly publishing for researchers in all disciplines.

Who retains the copyright?

Generally with true Gold OA the author retains copyright. However, check the policy of the publisher/journal, and ask for contract changes if necessary.

When articles are published in hybrid journals, the copyright may be transferred to the publisher or society who publishes the title, although authors retain the right to place a version of the manuscript in a repository, typically after an embargo period.

What is a Creative Commons license?

Licensing OA articles under a Creative Commons license has evolved as the standard for OA publishing. One of the most liberal CC licenses for publishing scientific articles is the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, as it allows the public to adapt and share an author’s work, even for commercial use, as long as the author is properly cited. Several other licenses exist - some publishers give you a choice when you are publishing in a hybrid title.

Creative Commons also offers the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine, a simple mechanism for scholars to retain copyright over their published material that otherwise would be transferred to the publisher. 

SPARC Author Addendum

SPARC is a global coalition committed to making Open the default for research and education, advocating for the adoption of policies and practices that advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education.

The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that you can use to modify your copyright transfer agreements with non-open access journal publishers. It allows you to select which individual rights out of the bundle of copyrights you want to keep, such as:

  • Distributing copies in the course of teaching and research,
  • Posting the article on a personal or institutional Web site, or
  • Creating derivative works.