Copyright, Author Rights and Open Access

Anyone involved with clearing copyright permissions to allow for open access to digital resources on a personal website or in an institutional repository are probably familiar with the SHERPA/RoMEO database.

SHERPA/RoMEO began as a UK research project developed at the University of Loughborough and is now maintained by the Centre for Research Communications (CRC) at the University of Nottingham. It’s an excellent starting point to find summaries of “permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher’s copyright transfer agreement.” Policies can be searched for by journal titles or their ISSNs or by a publisher’s name.

The OAKlist database is a similar service compiled in Australia by the Queensland University of Technology, but I see that it has recently been “decommissioned” and now redirects users to SHERPA/RoMEO.

Another resource that I recently learned about is a wiki called Copyright Experiences. This is a US resource that focuses specifically on law journals and is a place where legal academics can share experiences they’ve had when negotiating copyright with law journals and other legal publishers. The project is hosted by Michael Froomkin, the Laurie Silvers & Mitchell Rubenstein Distinguished Professor of Law, at the University of Miami School of Law.

In addition to providing a community space where authors can share their experiences the wiki includes a section on model copyright agreements. This is a nice feature that helps to inform authors about their rights and help them achieve “the widest dissemination” of their work.

If you are an author interested in learning more about what your rights are you may also be interested in these resources*:

* Recommended by members of the York University Libraries Scholarly Communication Initiative.

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