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Copyright: Resources for Authors

Copyright for Authors (5:53 min)

A brief introduction to the benefits of retaining copyright, negotiating with the publisher, and the importance of holding on to the publication agreement. From Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University Libraries/Information Services.

Kenneth D. Crews, J.S., Ph.D, former Director of the Copyright Office at Columbia University

Beyond the Publication Agreement

Publication Agreement Addenda
  • Introduction to Publication Agreements for Authors
  • SPARC is an international alliance of academic and research libraries working to proliferate the ideals of open access publishing. The SPARC Author Addendum allows you to select which individual rights out of the bundle of copyrights you want to keep and provides a legal instrument to modify your publisher agreement.
  • The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine is a tool from the Creative Commons to generate a custom addendum to attach to the journal publisher's copyright agreement.
Termination of Transfer Tool
  • Termination of transfer tool is an informational resource from the Authors Alliance/Creative Commons about the process of reverting copyright to the previously published works from publisher to authors.

Considerations for Authors

  • Rights are essential for using and sharing your work.
  • Many publishers require full transfer of copyright, imposing severe restrictions on an author's ability to reuse his or her own work.
  • Anticipate ways you may wish to use and disseminate your work in the future. You may want to retain rights:
    • To display the work publicly
    • To distribute copies of the work
    • To use a portion or expanded version of the work
    • To deposit the work in an institutional or funding agent's repository
  • Whenever possible, negotiate with a publisher to reserve the rights you desire.
  • Carefully review a publisher's Copyright Transfer Agreement to determine what rights a publisher permits authors to retain.
  • Ask the publisher if you may attach an author's addendum to the publisher's Copyright Transfer Agreement, permitting you to retain specific rights.
  • Creative Commons license may be used to change "all rights reserved" to "some rights reserved."
  • If your work was funded by the National Institute of Health (NIH) you are required to keep copyright and deposit your work in PMC (PubMed Central).
  • Keep a copy of any agreement you sign.
  • Consider Open Access publishing. Click here to view MSK Library's Open Access Guide.

General Copyright Resources & Tools for Authors

Open Access Resources

Open Access

The Open Access (OA) initiative seeks to remove barriers to research and creative literature to make it accessible to all interested individuals. The MSK Library is committed to the principles of open access to scientific literature as a means to accelerate scientific discovery and improve patient care. The MSK Open Access Library Guide contains selected information resources to raise awareness of open access publishing options and offers guidance to authors of scholarly works who wish to disseminate their research without restrictions of the commercial/fee-based publishing model.

Public Access Policy for NIH-Funded Research
  • To advance science and improve human health, NIH makes the peer-reviewed articles it funds publicly available on PubMed Central. The NIH public access policy requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed journal manuscripts that arise from NIH funds to PubMed Central immediately upon acceptance for publication. For more, refer to
  • MSK NIH Public Access Policy Library Guide provides details about NIH compliance requirements for MSK publications, including benchmarks for demonstrating compliance, differences in submission methods, and MSK-specific documents that relate to the NIH Public Access policy.
  • For your convenience, MSK has created an MSK Non-Exclusive Copyright Agreement addendum for NIH-funded peer-reviewed research papers to facilitate compliance with the deposit requirement.
Creative Commons Licenses

The information contained on this page is educational and is not to be taken as legal advice.