The information as provided in this section is not intended to serve as legal guidance or advice. Authors are encouraged to consult the Office of the Vice Chancellor and General Counsel (OGC) for advice on specific issues or situations.
Authors retain copyright of their work as soon as the work is in a fixed, tangible medium. Copyright is a bundle of various rights that allows the holder to retain ownership and rights as to the use, dissemination, display, and modification of the work in digital or print format in connection with academic and professional activities. Some of these rights include:
Under the traditional academic publication model an author typically transfers all ownership and rights to a publisher. If an author relinquishes all their rights under this model, they significantly decrease their ability to control their work and have no further rights to use the work without permission from the publisher. Advances in digital technology have allowed for new ways of dissemination with many publishers offering authors options for management of their copyright with very flexible use conditions that meet the needs of both parties. No longer do authors have to transfer all their rights in a single bundle in exchange for publication.
Many publishers grant authors certain rights up front and there is a wide range of what rights are allowed including stipulations for use. Some publishers allow for unrestricted dissemination of the work to colleagues, unlimited copies for personal use, posting of the final published version on an institutional web site or subject repository, use a graph or chart for a future work, to comply with public access mandates, to name a few. However, these rights may come with stipulations for use which vary among publishers. Some publishers will allow authors to use only the post-print version and not the publisher’s final version, with instructions to link the post-print version to the publisher’s final version. Other stipulations include noting the Digital Object Identifier number (DOI) to the final published version of the work, adding a statement as provided by the publisher, an embargo period before an author can reuse the work, a limit on the number of times a work can be sent to colleagues, a limit on the number of copies that can be made for classroom use, to name a few.