Author rights are the rights of copyright owners, granted under copyright law. As an author, you are the owner of the copyright to your work. 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

As a result of the UC Open Access Policy, effective July 24, 2013, UC Senate faculty members have the right to deposit the latest manuscript version (e.g. Microsoft Word version ) of their articles published in subscription journals into an open access repository, including UC's institutional repository, eScholarship. These rights, granted by the UC OA Policy, prevail over publishers' article publication agreements.  

Pre-Open Access Policy Rights

Articles published prior to the July 24, 2013 passage of the UC OA Policy can be depsoted in an open access respository if you still hold the copyright to the article and did not sign it over to the publisher. 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 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 (delay) period.
  • Numerous colleges and universities in the U.S. and around the world have adopted 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

Authors Alliance:  Established May 2014, the Authors Alliance promotes authorship for the public good, by assisting authors who wish to disseminate knowledge and products of creativity as widely as possible.  The Alliance's Board of Directors is comprised of four UC Berkeley professors, including the Universtity Librarian. (

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




/* Style Definitions */
{mso-style-name:"Table Normal";
mso-padding-alt:0in 5.4pt 0in 5.4pt;
mso-fareast-font-family:"Times New Roman";
mso-bidi-font-family:"Times New Roman";

: 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.