Authors' Rights: What and How Can You Share?
If you use Academia.edu, ResearchGate, or other social networking sites that allow and encourage you to share the full text of your publications with others, you have to be careful. If you've published in a traditional subscription journal you might have signed a copyright agreement that forbids the sharing of the final published version of the article. Publishers are starting to change and use more liberal agreements, but you still need to figure out what version of an article you can place on networking sites, in repositories, and even on your own web page, without violating copyright law.
Step 1. Determining your rights on already-published materials
- For articles, look up the journal in SHERPA/RoMEO, a database of journals' copyright and self-archiving policies. You'll be able to determine what version of the article can be posted and where it can be posted - if anywhere.
- For chapters and books, you'll need to look at your contract with the publisher or contact the publisher to ask what rights you have regarding sharing on the web.
Step 2. As you move forward through your career, we encourage you to
- Thoroughly read any copyright transfer agreements from publishers
- Ask questions of your librarian and the publisher
- Consider publishing in an open access platform that uses a CC-BY or other Creative Commons license that gives you and others the rights to reuse your work
Please talk with your librarian if things get complicated. You may find these slides from a 2018 presentation about this topic useful.
- As an author, you own (or co-own) copyright in text and images you (or a group) create. These copyrights are yours until you sign them away in an agreement or place a license on them that gives others some of those rights.
- For a review of copyright in different academic situations, please see the Sheridan Libraries Copyright guide.
- Creative Commons offers authors and creators licenses they can place on their work to give others certain rights.
If you have follow-up questions about copyright, social networks, or Creative Commons, please contact your librarian or Scholarly Impact Services.