What happens when I sign a publisher's agreement?

Authors should be aware that they may be relinquishing their copyright in works they have produced and own when they sign agreements with publishers or other companies. In some cases, this can include giving up the right to use the work in their own or institutional educational and research endeavors. Only sign a publishing agreement after you read and understand the content. Then talk to your publisher about granting them only those rights needed for publication.

Where can I get help with the wording to use in an agreement with a publisher?

In 2008, OSU governance reviewed and endorsed the CIC Statement on Publishing Agreements and the Addendum to Publication Agreements for CIC Authors. This addendum can be used to allow the author to retain non-exclusive rights to use his or her article for academic and professional activities, to make a published article available over the internet after a six-month embargo, and for others at the author's institution to use the article in conjunction with academic and professional activities.

Copyright Services has created an author’s addendum for The Ohio State University Library Faculty that requests only the rights necessary to place the scholarly work in an institutional repository, such as OSU’s Knowledge Bank.

How do I protect my rights as an author?

Explicitly retain ownership of your content. Transfer only some of your rights to the publisher.

What rights can I retain?

You can retain any or all of the five basic rights (reproduction, distribution, performance, display, and derivative works). It is often desirable to at least do so in connection with any personal, professional or non-profit educational activities.

How can I retain my rights?

Only sign a publishing agreement after you read and understand the content. Talk to your publisher about granting only those rights needed for their publication. Try to keep all other rights, specifying those of particular value to you or your institution. See the resources below for examples of words and phrases to look for in your agreements, and contact Copyright Services if you have any questions about your publishing agreement. 

What to Look for in Publisher Copyright Agreement Forms?

Phrases to Look for in Publisher Copyright Agreement Forms

DISCLAIMER: The information on these web pages and that received from Copyright Services at OSU Libraries and the Health Sciences Copyright Coordinator is not legal advice, nor is either office legal counsel to the university or any members of the university community.