Managing your copyright
How does copyright concern me as a researcher or scholar?
As the author of a work, you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer your copyright to someone else in a signed agreement.
Copyright owners have a number of exclusive rights, including:
- the right to publish their work
- the right to reproduce their work (for example, by copying or scanning)
- the right to communicate their work to the public (for example, by making it available online, by emailing it or by faxing it)
Who owns the copyright in my published work?
- you as the author?
- joint authors?
- the publisher?
- the University?
- a third party (eg. a diagram used with permission)
What are the terms of my agreement with my publisher?
When you submit your work to a publisher, you will be asked to sign a publication agreement. Copyright transfer agreements vary from publisher to publisher. Read this agreement carefully.
If the Agreement asks you to transfer your copyright to the publisher, you should make sure you understand what this means. If the transfer agreement is not qualified in any way, it will mean that only the publisher will be able to reproduce, publish, communicate, perform or adapt your work, thus preventing you from re-using or distributing your work without Publisher permission.
Assigning copyright, on an unconditional basis, to a journal publisher means:
- You may not be allowed to post a copy on your own web-page or deposit a copy in your institution's eprint repository.
- You may have to ask permission, and perhaps even pay a royalty, to distribute copies to your classes or include your own work in a course pack.
- Only subscribers to the journal (individually, institutionally or via a fulltext database license) will be able to read your work. This can seriously restrict research impact and progress.
Retaining your rights
A Publisher requires only your permission to publish your paper, not the wholesale transfer of your rights as author.
Therefore, before you sign, scrutinize your Agreement and consider:
- the rights you want to retain
- the ways you want to use and develop your own work without restriction
- how to increase access to your work for educational and research purposes
- your right to be properly attributed when your work is used
- your right to deposit your work in an online archive or repository
- your Publishers right for a non-exclusive to publish and distribute your work for a financial return
- your Publishers right to be properly attributed and cited
- your Publishers right to migrate your work to future formats and include it in collections
Choices and Consequences for Authors
Reproduced with permission from Bill Hubbard (SHERPA) and London School of Economics and Political Science, London, U.K; 2007.
Permission from all the authors of a jointly authored paper should be obtained.
3rd Party Copyright
If you have included content where the copyright is owned by someone other than yourself (i.e. diagram, text, photograph) you do not necessarily have permission to re-use the material. You may need to obtain permission for inclusion in the repository from the owner of the copyright.
Publishing your work in an Online Research Repository
Institutional repositories are one of the strategies currently being adopted by scholarly communities around the globe to ensure maximum access to research literature. Some publishers allow works to be stored in open access institutional repositories such as UniSA Research Archive. Other publishers permit such practice but with restrictions such as:
- limited to the use of the publishers PDF version
- limited to the authors own fully corrected version
- removal of the pre-print on publication
- links to the publishers web site to be included
You should always seek to retain the right to include your published work in the Universitys research repository.
Publishing in open access journals
Consider publishing in an open access journal such as those available at the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ). These journals are fully peer-reviewed and you retain all rights for future use. Additional information about open access publishing can be found at:
If in doubt
If you have any doubts at all regarding your publications you should contact your publisher to check that what you are intending to do with the work complies with their regulations.
For more information, please contact the University Copyright Officer