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Open Access and Scholarly Communication Support: Copyright Help


Copyright is an extremely complicated issue. This page contains many resources that might be helpful as you search for answers to your copyright questions. This page was not created by a lawyer, however the librarian who created it is happy to attempt to help you further with any copyright needs. 

Creative Commons Licenses

Creative Commons license is a copyright license chosen by a work's creator to grant free distribution of a work following certain guidelines of the distribution. 


Image result for creative commons license


Each of the Creative Commons licenses tells you what you have permission to do with the content. Some allow you to reuse content without modifying, others allow you to modify. Some licenses permit you to use content as long as you attribute the original creator. Some only allow you to use content non-commercially. 


SHERPA/RoMEO is a searchable database of publisher's policies regarding the self- archiving of journal articles on the web and in Open Access repositories. Search by journal title or publisher to see their specific policies. 

Author Addendum Form

You may use this Author Addendum form when negotiating with publishers about retaining your rights for depositing works in an open access institutional repository. 

Alternatively, use SPARC's author addendum form (attached below). Using an addendum benefits authors by allowing them to:

  • retain their rights
  • use and develop their own work without restriction
  • increase access for education and research 
  • receive proper attribution when their work is used
  • deposit their work in an open online archive where it will be permanently and openly accessible

(Taken from SPARC's Author Rights Page)

Versions of Papers - What Can I Deposit in Digital Commons?

Pre-prints, post-prints, accepted author's manuscript... there are a lot of terms floating around out there, and there is confusion about what each term actually refers to! Let's take a minute and try to nail down some definitions:

SHERPA/RoMEO defines pre-prints and post-prints in the following way:

"Pre-prints are the version of the paper before peer review, and post-prints are the version of the paper after peer-review, with revisions having been made. This means that in terms of content, post-prints are the article as published. However, in terms of appearance this might not be the same as the published article, as publishers often reserve for themselves their own arrangement of type-setting and formatting. Typically, this means that the author cannot use the publisher-generated .pdf file, but must make their own .pdf version for submission to a repository."

What version can I put in Digital Commons?

Short answer: whatever version your publisher allows. 

We would love for it to be as close to the final publisher's version as possible, but please check the copyright requirements before submitting this version to be uploaded to Digital Commons. (Or ask the Library to help you with this process.) 

If the pre-print or post-print version is uploaded to Digital Commons, a link to the final publisher's version can be added to the information page to direct readers to the final typeset/copyedited PDF.