What Are Author Rights?

The right to:

  • Be the exclusive copyright holder of what you produce
  • Reproduce your work
  • Distribute copies of your work
  • Prepare translations and other derivative works
  • Perform or display the work publicly
  • Authorize others (e.g., a publisher or online repository) to exercise any of these rights 

UC Authors' Rights

Since the July 24, 2013 passage of the UC Open Access Policy Senate faculty members have the right to deposit the Word version (not the publishers's typeset branded version) of articles they've published into an open access repsoitory, like eScholarship, UC's institutional repository.

Pre-Open Access Policy Rights

If you (a member of the UC Academic Senate) hold the copyright to articles published prior to July 24, 2013 (when the OA Policy was passed) those articles can also be deposited.  There are several ways to determine whether you have the right to post your article online:

  • Consult the article publication agreement you signed when the article was accepted for publication
  • Consult the "Author Rights"  section of the publisher's webiste
  • Consult SHERPA RoMEO, a database of publishers' copyright policies
  • Consult the subject librarian for your area

Historical Context

In scholarly journal publishing, publishers have traditionally required that authors transfer the entire bundle of copyrights (See top of page) as a condition of publication.  As a result of the Internet and demand by scholars, two factors have dramatically changed traditional publishing practices related to author rights:

  • Most publishers now allow authors to retain some or all of their rights.  For example, the right to post their article online after a specified embargo period.
  • The passage of open access policies at numerous colleges and universities in the U.S. and around the world.  Many institutions are members of the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI).
The above factors are possible because scholars have been demanding changes in scholarly publishing.  And, publishers - especially commercial publishers like Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis, Wiley - can't generate the huge profits they have become accustomed to without the unpaid labor of scholars and their willingness to transfer or share their rights with publishers, as well as review and edit articles without compensation.

Additional Information & Resources

Scholarly Communication Express Librarians are available to deliver presentations to groups or to meet with individuals about managing their intellectual property or other scholarly communication and publishing issues.  Presentations and consultations can be scheduled from the above Scholarly Communication Express webpage.  

Office of Scholarly Communication This UC Office focuses on monitoring and synthesizing siginificant developments in scholarly communication with particular emphasis on implications for the UC academic community.  View information on government legislation and policies for federal and state-funded research; and new models for peer review, access, funding and scholarly publications.  Also, learn about tools to help UC scholars maximize the visibility of their work.   

SHERPA RoMEO (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) SHERPA  is the organization that runs RoMEO.  RoMEO is a searchable database of publishers' copyright policies. Use SHERPA RoMEO to determine how progressive a publisher's copyright policy is before submitting your work, or to determine whether an article published prior to the passage of the OA Policy can be posted online.