.panel-collapse { display:block !important; } #collapse2 { display:block !important } Skip to Main Content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

Today's hours:

See all library hours »

  • Ask a Librarian
  • FAQ

Open Access FAQ

Information and resources addressing frequently asked questions on open access.

What are the rights of an author in traditional publishing?

Traditionally, publishers have owned copyrights.  Although the copyright defaults to the author, copyright can be transferred, and most publishing contracts include a section transferring some or all rights to the publisher.  In other words, the publishers own the copyrights because the authors have given them away.  This is often titled "Copyright Transfer Agreement."  However, contracts can be negotiated.

The consequences of transferring copyrights to the publisher is often not recognized.  If an author doesn't own the rights to his or her own work, he or she may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work.

may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. - See more at: http://www.sparc.arl.org/resources/authors/addendum#sthash.HOZyGiP0.dpuf
may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. - See more at: http://www.sparc.arl.org/resources/authors/addendum#sthash.HOZyGiP0.dpuf
may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. - See more at: http://www.sparc.arl.org/resources/authors/addendum#sthash.HOZyGiP0.dpuf
may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. - See more at: http://www.sparc.arl.org/resources/authors/addendum#sthash.HOZyGiP0.dpuf
may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. - See more at: http://www.sparc.arl.org/resources/authors/addendum#sthash.HOZyGiP0.dpuf

What are the alternatives?

Through negotiation with the publisher and the author's employer, an author may be able to retain some or all copyrights.  In this case, he or she may choose to retain those rights, or to waive certain rights in order to provide Open Access to the work. For more information about how to retain some or all author rights, check out the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition's page for authors.

There are two types of open access that are classified by what people can do with a work.

  • Items that are free to access but protected by default copyright are called Gratis OA.
  • Items free to access and with some, or all, of their copyrights waived, are called Libre OACreative Commons licenses are a good example of Libre OA .  Libre OA allows others to text-mine, share, remix and reuse data without having to seek permission from the copyright holder first.

What rights are covered under copyright law?

Copyright protects original works of authorship. Copyright is granted automatically once a work has been set in a fixed form. The copyright owner has the exclusives rights to:

  • Attribution (citation)
  • Reproduction and distribution (including reformatting)
  • Derivative works (works based on…)
  • Public Display
  • Performance