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Most U.S. university copyright ownership policies specify that the faculty author, absent use of an exceptional amount of university resources, is the copyright holder of the works he or she generates, such as scholarly journal articles. The dominant traditional publication model has been to require the transfer of all copyright in the article (the work) to the publisher via the written publication agreement. Once this is done, the faculty author has no greater right to use (copy, modify, distribute, publicly display, or publicly perform) the work than anyone else. Greater awareness of the consequences of complete copyright transfer, particularly to themselves, of giving away the copyright to their work without any reservation of use rights (for themselves and their universities) has motivated many faculty to investigate alternate publication agreement language.
Importantly, the federal government is now mandating Open Access to the published results of research funded by major federal grant funding agencies, mirroring the NIH/PubMed Central model.
Sample Alternate Language:
I. For Publication Agreements Involving NIH Grant Funding [Recommended By SPARC]
"Journal acknowledges that Author retains the right to provide a copy of the final manuscript to NIH, upon acceptance for Journal publication or thereafter for public archiving in PubMed Central as soon as possible after publication by Journal."
II. For Publication Agreements Involving Grant Funding from Federal Agencies with Over $1M in R & D Expenditures:
White House Directive 2013: Office of Science and Technology Policy (OSTP) : Increasing Acces to the Results of Federally Funded Scientific Research
Effective July 1, 2013, the final peer-reviewed manuscript of any article accepted for publication arising out of Federally funded research (see above) must be immediately submitted for preservation and access to an open online archive or repository freely available to the public without use restrictions. The article, although immediately submitted, must be made openly available no later than twelve months after publication.
Suggested publication agreement language:
"Author retains the right to submit a copy of the final peer reviewed manuscript immediately upon acceptance for publication in an online publicly available archive or repository for long term preservation and public accessibility. This manuscript or the published version must be freely and publicly accessible for search, retrieval, and analysis within twelve months of publication."
III. Generic Sample Alternate Language: Rights Retention
While some publishers still insist that the copyright must be transferred or the article will be refused, most are willing, at the very least, to permit the author to retain some use rights necessary to future teaching and research activities. It is difficult to argue that allowing one individual (the author) to use the entire work will undermine the article's commercial value.
Many authors' rights web sites provide alternate language that authors can insert into the publication agreement, allowing them necessary use rights. Three samples are provided below:
1. From NC State: "Owner (publisher) hereby grants the author a non-exclusive, world-wide, royalty-free, perpetual and irrevocable right and license to copy, distribute, display, and perform this Work, in whole or in part, and to incorporate the Work, in whole or in part, into other works (the "Derivative Works") in his/her teaching and research activities including publication of the subsequent work in both printed and electronic materials and on the author's non-profit educational web site."
2. From the University of Kansas: "Notwithstanding the above language, I reserve the right to use this manuscript in my teaching and research, for my colleagues at the University of Kansas to use this manuscript in their teaching and research, and I also reserve the right to place an electronic copy of this manuscript on a publicly accessible web site."
3. From the University of Texas: "Permission is granted for nonprofit educational and library duplication and distribution, including but not limited to reserves and course packs made by nonprofit or for-profit copy shops. This permission is in addition to rights granted under Sections 107, 108, and other provisions of the copyright act."
Additionally, the following publication agreements also include rights for the authors:
• Earthquake Engineering Research Institute Transfer of Copyright Agreement
(see Copyright Transfer pdf on right menu)