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Author's Rights and Author Addenda PDF Print

Under all jurisdictions, copyright is a bundle of rights and authors may opt to transfer some of these rights to the publisher (for example, the right to publish the work commercially) whilst retaining others for themselves. For instance, authors may wish to retain the right to reproduce, distribute, display and perform their own work in respect of either their research or their teaching work. 

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Author addenda state the rights that the author will retain after passing an article to a publisher for publication. Addenda vary considerably, so care must be taken to choose an addendum that suits the author (or institution) in each particular case. Many addenda restrict the author to use the work for non-commercial purposes, for example, which may work well if the author is publishing a journal article, but may restrict the author too much if the output is another type of work. Another raft of restrictions may be imposed upon the publisher and in the case of institutionally-developed agreements, there is usually provision for the institution itself to hold some rights to use the work as well.

Examples of author addenda

Two widely-used author addenda are those from SPARC/Science Commons and from SURF/JISC.

SPARC and Science Commons provide authors with resources to help them understand how to retain important rights over their work. SPARC provides a brochure for authors and librarians which can also be downloaded as a poster, as well as a Q&A and other information on author rights. Science Commons also provides a Q&A briefing on author rights. These two organisations have between them developed the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine which includes a number of varied addenda, including SPARC's own Author Addendum. 

The SURF/JISC Copyright Toolbox, developed by the SURF Foundation in the Netherlands and the Joint Information Systems Committee (JISC) in the UK, incorporates a licence-to-publish that authors can assign to publishers. This enables them to retain a bundle of rights for themselves over the use of their own work. The Toolkit also provides sample wordings that can be used if an author or publisher wishes to amend the standard publishing agreement in the licence.

Institutional addenda

As well as being available through the SPARC and Science Commons websites, the Engine is also on the MIT and Carnegie Mellon University (Authors' Rights and Wrongs) websites. MIT's own Copyright Agreement Amendment as one of the choices available through the Scholar's Copyright Addendum engine. 

MIT developed an author addendum for its researchers during 2006. This was followed in June 2007 by an addendum from the Committee for Institutional Cooperation, a consortium of 12 research universities (the University of Chicago, the University of Illinois, Indiana University, the University of Iowa, the University of Michigan, Michigan State University, the University of Minnesota, Northwestern University, Ohio State University, Penn State University, Purdue University, and the University of Wisconsin-Madison).The CIC asked its member institutions to adopt the addendum. Three (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, University of Wisconsin at Madison and the University of Minnesota) adopted it immediately. Others have followed since.

Other addenda or agreements have been drawn up by individual universities or research institutions. Institutional policies on copyright are increasing as Open Access becomes mainstream and universities seek to protect future research outputs from falling under publisher ownership. The University of Texas, for example, declares in its copyright management guidelines that its researchers must manage copyright in their articles for the benefit of "the authors, the citizens of Texas, state government, the component institutions, and the U. T. System". 

Further resources

 A list of issues in publisher copyright transfer agreements that should receive attention from authors and institutions has been prepared by the Scholarly Communication Initiative at Washington University School of Medicine, St.Louis, Missouri.

The Open Access Directory provides a list of addenda for authors to use, including links to addenda drawn up by specific universities.

A detailed account of types of addenda and their implications is given in an article by Peter Hirtle of Cornell University Library. Although a little dated in the light of fast-moving developments since it was published in 2006, the article covers all the issues that institutions need to consider when drawing up an author addendum.

Last Updated on Wednesday, 11 March 2009 12:12