Retain Certain Copyrights
Copyrights are actually a bundle of rights. They can be transferred in their entirety by the author to a publisher, or the author can transfer only certain rights. Traditionally in scholarly publishing, publishers require the transfer of the entire bundle of rights as a condition of publication.
However, you do not have to surrender all copyrights when you publish. See seven points to understand about copyright for more information.
What You Can Do
Transfer copyrights but reserve some rights: Use these techniques and language to modify the language of the publishing contract to transfer non-exclusive rights to the publisher. See also the SPARC Author Addendum.
Keep copyrights and transfer limited rights to the publisher: Use these techniques and sample publishing agreements to transfer limited rights to the publisher.
Submit work to publishers with enlightened copyright policies (list of publishers allowing deposition of published work in repositories): Many publishers are liberalizing their policies to help achieve a balance between their interests and those of their authors.Examples of copyright agreements:
- In the American Physical Society's transfer of copyright agreement, copyright is transferred but clear and extensive rights are retained by the author. See the agreement: [PDF]
- The UK's SHERPA/RoMEO project provides data about the copyright policies of major scholarly publishers (note that the information is not monitored by UC).
The Reshaping Scholarly Communication website provides information to help members of the University of California community better address their scholarly communication needs. The information provided here is intended only as guidance, not as a substitute for legal counsel. Please consult an attorney if you have questions regarding a specific copyright transfer agreement or publishing contract.