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Scholarly Publishing and Open Access

This guide provides tips and resources for navigating the scholarly publishing landscape, including journal lists, author resources, and resources about preprints and repositories.

Author Rights and Copyright Transfer Agreements

Researchers often publish in journals that may ask for complete transfer of the author’s copyright to the journal. Many researchers might not know they have more rights than they think: as the author of a work you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement.

  • Assigning your rights matters. Normally, the copyright holder possesses the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, and modification of the original work. An author who has transferred copyright without retaining these rights must ask permission unless the use is one of the statutory exemptions in copyright law.

  • The copyright holder controls the work. Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, pricing, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the copyright holder. Authors who have transferred their copyright without retaining any rights may not be able to place the work on course websites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. That’s why it is important to retain the rights you need.

  • Transferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing. The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others. This is the compromise that the SPARC Author Addendum helps you to achieve.

Adapted from SPARC’s “Author Rights: Using the SPARC Author Addendum,” licensed under a CC BY 4.0 license.

If you have questions about copyright, intellectual property, or your rights as a content creator, please send an email to

Copyright Resources

The SPARC Author Addendum

screenshot of sparc pdf brochure

This is a legal instrument that you can use to modify your copyright transfer agreements with non-open access journal publishers. It allows you to select which individual rights out of the bundle of copyrights you want to keep, such as

  • Distributing copies in teaching and research
  • Posting the article on a personal or institutional website
  • Creating derivative works

Select the image on the right to access the resource.




Authors Alliance Resources

authors alliance logo

The Authors Alliance also provides several rights reversion resources designed to help authors take back control copyrights and make works newly available in the ways authors want.

  • Understanding and Negotiating Publication Contracts
  • Negotiation sucess stories for author-friendly publication contract terms
  • A model author-publisher contract (digital scholarship)

Select the image on the right to access the resource.

SPARC Author Rights Video

Produced by the Institute on Scholarly Communication in association with SPARC. Explains how researchers can maximize exposure and dissemination for their peer-reviewed article manuscripts.

Posted by the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL)