Faculty Publishing Guide: Author Rights

Know Your Rights as an Author

This information adapted from SPARC.

  • The author is the copyright holder. As the author of a work, you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement. 

  • Assigning your rights matters. Normally, the copyright holder possesses the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, and modification of the original work. An author who has transferred copyright without retaining these rights must ask permission unless the use is one of the statutory exemptions in copyright law. 
  • The copyright holder controls the work. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, pricing, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the copyright holder. Authors who have transferred their copyright without retaining any rights may not be able to place the work on course Websites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. That’s why it is important to retain the rights you need.

Retain Your Rights as an Author

This information adapted from SPARC.

 Transferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing.The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others.  Some available options:

  • Choose journals with non-exclusive agreements (more info: Open Access/SHERPA/RoMEO section)
  • Choose journals with self-archiving friendly agreements (more info: Open Access/SHERPA/RoMEO section)
  • Choose an Open Access Journal (discover at Open Access/Directories & Repositories section)
  • Negotiate with the publisher to amend existing agreement (SPARC Author Addendum)
  • Use an alternative agreement (Creative Commons License)

SPARC Author Addendum and Creative Commons License

This information taken from SPARC.

  • Explain to the publisher why it is important for you to retain the rights to your own work.
  • Ask the publisher to articulate why the license rights provided under the SPARC Author Addendum or Creative Commons license are insufficient to allow publication.
  • Evaluate the adequacy of the publisher’s response in light of the reasonable and growing need for authors to retain certain key rights to their works.
  • Consider publishing with an organization that will facilitate the widest dissemination of their authors’ works, to help them fulfill their personal and professional goals as scholars.


Copyright and Submitting to the Repository - DigitalCommons@Fairfield

Adapted from the University of Connecticut's Copyright Guidelines.

Learn more about Digital Commons

Visit DigitalCommons@Fairfield

Author With Copyright: 

Any author publishing work in DigitalCommons@Fairfield must either be the copyright owner for the work or have the permission of the copyright holder to publish it in the Repository.

If the author retains copyright for their submission, no further efforts are required, and they may proceed to the submission process.


Author Without Copyright:

If the author does not maintain copyright, he/she still may be able to submit material to the repository. Many publishers will allow placement in an institutional repository of articles published in their journals or books as a form of "self archiving" in pre-print or post-print form. SHERPA-RoMEO provides information by publisher on what kind of self-archiving activity is allowed for articles in their journals, and one can search for a particular journal and its policies here. If after consulting these sources and/or the publisher, an author is unable to determine whether they retain the right to post their material in the repository, they can email digitalcommons@fairfield.edu for assistance.


Preserve Self Archiving Rights:

Remember, authors can always preserve basic self archiving rights when negotiating copyright issues in book and journal contracts. The DiMenna-Nyselius Library endorses the SPARC Author Addendum which contains language that allows for the posting of published documents in an institutional repository, and which can be attached to any publisher’s publication agreement.  We encourage authors to use this form or otherwise protect their rights when submitting documents to a publisher.

Definitions & Useful Links


Author Pre-Print version: the author copy PRIOR to any peer-review – [usually the initial submission for publication].

Author Post-Print version: the author copy POST peer review but PRIOR to any publisher formatting, copyediting, pagination, etc.

Publisher PDF version: the actual article as it appeared in the publication.  All peer-review, formatting, copyediting and pagination has been included.