Scholarly Communications

Learn about trends in scholarly publishing and communication.

Authors' (Copy)rights

Copyright is actually a bundle of rights. This page focuses on the author's side of copyright; more information is available at the SPARC website. The library also provides an overview of copyright in other situations.

  • As an author of a scholarly work, you own the copyright in that work unless you transfer those rights in a contract.
  • You can share or transfer those rights separately, or in a bundle.
  • The basic rights include
    • Reproduction
    • Preparation of derivative works
    • Distribution
    • Public display of performances or artistic works
    • Public performance of musical or dramatic works

JHU Author Documents

Author Tools

Publisher Agreements

Authors of articles and books are primarily interested in the first three rights: reproduction, derivative works, and distribution. When dealing with a publisher, you should carefully read the contract and answer these questions:

  • Do you have the ability to reproduce and use your work in the classroom?
  • Can you make derivative works that will be published elsewhere?
  • Can you post a copy of your work on your website or in a repository?

If these rights are transferred to the publisher, but you want to retain them, you need to negotiate with the publisher. There are documents to assist you with that.

  • The JHU Office of the General Counsel has also prepared a notification letter for JHU authors' use.
  • The Basic Addendum (see box to the left) includes language suggested by the NIH and retains only the rights that allow you to deposit your final manuscript into PubMed Central.
  • A Broader Addendum (see box to the left), based on the Creative Commons model and approved by the JHU Office of the General Counsel is also available. It allows you to retain the right to:

Want to talk it through?

If you'd like to talk through copyright, open access, or other issues related to academic publishing, you can contact Robin Sinn, Scholarly Communications Specialist, or your librarian.