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Copyright, Scanning and Photocopying: Copyright for authors

Copyright of your published work

It is important to know who owns the copyright of your work. Is it:

  • you as the author
  • a number of joint authors
  • the publisher
  • the institution
  • are there any parts of the work where copyright is retained by others, e.g. diagrams, photographs

Copyright agreements with your publisher

Many publishers require that authors sign a copyright agreement or transfer copyright to the publisher on submission of their work. These agreements vary from publisher to publisher and may prevent the author(s) from distributing their own work.

Some journals have changed their policies and now allow authors to retain copyright. Others require a sign-over but license authors to place a copy of their work on their personal web page or in an institutional repository. Some also allow authors to copy the work for teaching purposes.

Keeping the copyright

We would encourage you to keep copyright wherever possible. There are a number of things you can do:

  • read any agreement carefully before signing
  • talk to your publisher if they have a restrictive agreement and negotiate an exception
  • amend the copyright agreement you sign to (at least) electronic distribution rights
  • actively support journals that have liberal copyright agreements
  • if you are a journal editor or member of an editorial board you can question the publisher on its policy of requiring authors to sign away their copyright

For further advice and information see: Managing Your Copyrights and Publisher Policies on Copyright.

What about third party copyright?

If you have included content where the copyright is owned by someone other than yourself (this may include a diagram, text, photo etc) you do not necessarily have permission to re-use the material. You may need to obtain permission the owner of the copyright if for example you want to deposit the material in an institutional archive