What Are Author Rights?

As an author you have 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

According to the UC Open Access Policy, effective July 24, 2013, UC Academic Senate faculty members have the right to deposit the latest version of their article that hasn't been formatted by a publisher (such as a Microsoft Word document) into an open access repository, including 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 before 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 website.
  • Consult SHERPA RoMEO, a database of publishers' copyright policies.
  • Consult the UCSB subject librarian for your area.

Historical Context

Traditionally, publishers of scholarly journals have required that authors transfer their entire bundle of copyrights (see top of page) as a condition of publication. The Internet and scholar demand, however, have led to two dramatic changes in publishing practices related to author rights:

  • Most publishers now allow authors to retain some or all of their rights, such as the right to post their article online after a specified embargo period.
  • Numerous colleges and universities in the U.S. and around the world have implemented open access policies. Many institutions are members of the Coalition of Open Access Policy Institutions (COAPI).
Scholars have been demanding these changes in scholarly publishing. And publishers — especially commercial publishers like Elsevier, Springer, Taylor & Francis, and 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: UCSB librarians are available to deliver presentations to groups or meet with individuals about managing their intellectual property, or other scholarly communication and publishing issues. Request a presentation or consultation

Office of Scholarly Communication: This UC office monitors and synthesizes significant developments in scholarly communication, especially those with 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 (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access): SHERPA is the organization that runs RoMEO, 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.