Author Rights

In scholarly publishing, publishers traditionally require that authors transfer the entire bundle of copyrights as a condition of publication. However, authors do not have to surrender all of their rights when publishing.

A key way for you to ensure that your work is read, studied, built upon, and cited by more people is to retain certain rights to your work when signing article publication agreements.  Retaining distribution rights to your work will allow you to post copies of your post peer review manuscript on your personal website, department website, in a course pack, and in an institutional or disciplinary repository.


What are Author Rights?

  • Exclusive holder of copyright to what you produce
  • to reproduce the work in copies
  • to distribute copies of the work
  • to prepare translations and other derivative works
  • to perform or display the work publicly
  • to authorize others to exercise any of these rights (e.g., a publisher, or online respository)

University of California Information

UC Advice for Managing Your Intellectual Property provides guidance on retaining some rights and increasing access to your work.  

UCSB Library Scholarly Communication Program librarians are also available to work with faculty on obtaining the necessary informaton, and negotiating with publishers.

Reshaping Scholarly Communication presents the news, issues, facts, about changes that are occurring in scholarly communication in response to publishing models that are not economically sustainable and the fact that researchers and students have access to a diminishing fraction of relevant scholarship.

Addenda for Modifying Publisher Agreements

The alternative (non-exclusive) agreements presented here may be used to replace the agreement provided by the publisher, whereby authors grant the publisher exclusive copyright to their work.  More detailed information for modifying an article publication agreement are here.

UC Recommended Addendum - authors can download and print this addendum to attach to their publisher's publication or copyright transfer agreement

SPARC Author Addendum - authors can download and print this SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) addendum to attach to their publisher's publication or copyright transfer agreement.

Science Commons Author Addedum - authors can use this tool to easily generate a printable .pdf addendum to attach to their publisher's publication or copyright transfer agreement.  It is not just for science articles or publishers. 

Other Tools


To determine how progressive a publisher's copyright policy is before submitting your work, use SHERPA RoMEO.  SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) is the organization that runs RoMEO.  RoMEO is a searchable database of publishers' copyright policies.  Authors can use the database to determine whether a publisher will permit authors to archive their postprints on the Web or in an Open Access repository.  Verify the information in the database withthe publisher.