Open Access News

News from the open access movement

Wednesday, February 06, 2008

Publication contracts, author rights and OA

Kevin Smith, Where does a publication contract fit in?, Scholarly Communications @ Duke blog, February 5, 2008.
...Another right that is becoming very important is the authorís right to post her work on a personal web page, in a disciplinary repository or in an institutional repository. Again, many publication agreements are allowing authors to retain this right in some form, but they often restrict what version of the article can be used or when the article can be placed in an open access database. So for this reason also, it is important to read a publication contract carefully.

When a publication agreement is a transfer of copyright, all these rights may be retain, but if they are not specifically mentioned, the author no longer has them. A transfer gives everything to the publisher unless it is explicitly retained. A license, on the other hand, gives only the right of first publication to the publisher, and the author retains all the rights that are not explicitly included in the license grant. Obviously, a license for first publication is the form of publication contract that is most beneficial to the authors, since it gives them maximum flexibility to use their own work after publication has occurred. This kind of contract is not the norm, but some publishers are now willing to accept a license for first publication, so many authors will find that it is at least worth asking.