VCU Libraries

Research Guides

Open Access Publishing

Author Rights

Authors own the copyright in their articles unless some or all of those rights are transferred through a publishing agreement. Many journal publishers request a full copyright transfer while allowing authors to retain certain rights to reuse articles. For more information on copyright, see the VCU Libraries guides on Copyright for Faculty and Copyright for Graduate Students

Authors can negotiate with publishers to retain rights that are not a part of the standard publishing agreement. Some rights authors may want to retain include:

  • the right to reuse the article for teaching purposes, such as distributing copies to students, or to distribute copies to colleagues
  • the right to reuse the article in future research, such as including portions in future publications
  • the right to deposit the article in VCU's institutional repository Scholars Compass or another open access repository where it will be permanently and openly accessible

Know How You Can Share Your Published Works

If you transferred your copyright to the publisher, your right to re-use the article or to make it openly available online may be restricted. To determine your rights, take the following steps:

Use Creative Commons Licenses

Many open access publications are made available under Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons licenses do not replace copyright but work alongside it, allowing you to keep your copyrights while permitting others to make certain uses of your work. You can choose to permit or deny commercial (for profit) uses of your work and modification of your work and choose whether or not modified versions have to be licensed under the same terms.