Which rights can I retain?

Authors are often interested in retaining rights to

  1. Reuse their work in teaching, future publications, and other scholarly and professional activities.
  2. Post their article online (sometimes referred to as “self-archiving”) eg. in the institutional repository, in the subject repository (such as PubMed Central, arXiv, etc.), or on a website.

Authors should define the rights they wish to retain as most publishers do not extend these rights to authors in their standard agreements.

How can I retain my rights?

Authors must know what their rights are and what they can do with an article they have written and published. Most of the time, scholars as authors transfer their copyright to publishers. However, a great number of authors have looked for more long-term control over their copyright in the articles they have created. They may seek flexibility to make their article openly accessible either for educational purposes or for the general readership. They may wish to allow their article to be reused in specific cases. It is recommended that the authors read, understand, and save a copy of the agreement/contract with the publisher.

Many publishers create significant barriers not only to authors who wish to reuse or share their work but also to access to this work by others. Negotiating changes to the standard contract before publication can help authors retain rights, thus increasing options for authors as well as readership, citation, and impact of the work itself. If the agreement is insufficient, they can request that the terms be modified and/or changed or to attach or submit an addendum to the publisher’s agreement, which will allow them to retain their main rights to the article to be published. Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) provides a typical model addendum.

Publishers tend to change the agreements, which the authors are asked to sign. If authors do not “secure” their rights, then, the publishers can gradually modify their practices.

Making research and academic knowledge as widely available as possible supports the creation, dissemination, and preservation of knowledge.

Some research funders demand or request that articles produced with their funding be made open to access online.

How can an article post-print be found?

Authors can post/publish post-prints of their articles in an institutional or subject repository. If they have not retained such a version of their article, then they can recover it from the publisher’s systems through which the article was submitted. Instructions and steps may vary from journal to journal since they depend on the system used by the publishers. For instance, T & F, CUP, and Emerald use ScholarOne, while Elsevier and SpringerNature use Editorial Manager.

Definition: Post-print, also known as AAM, Accepted author manuscript, Author accepted manuscript, is the final article version after it has been peer-reviewed but before it has been type-set by the publisher. It includes all corrections made during the peer-review process. A post-print can be deposited in a repository after the time limit agreed with the publisher has elapsed.

General guidelines

  • Find the submission page in the journal and log in. For example, the submission page of the Journal of the Association for Information Science and Technology is http://mc.manuscriptcentral.com/jasist.
  • Navigate to locate the article you wish to publish in the depository. Most journals have created different categories for the author’s submissions, such as “new submissions”, “submitted manuscripts”, “revisions”, “manuscripts with a decision”, and “post-decision manuscripts”. The categories may vary from journal to journal.
  • Choose the version which is closer to the final form and can be archived. You should now look for the final version in a list, as it is the publisher’s version, which is different from others since it is formatted according to the publisher’s standards and bears their logo. This version cannot be deposited in the repository.

The systems in detail are:

ScholarOne/Manuscript Central: It is used by Emerald Group Publishing, Taylor & Francis, Cambridge University Press, etc. Post-prints are archived for two (2) to five (5) years after publishing.

  • Find the journal submission page and log in.
  • Click on the “author” button on the upper left side of the page. This will direct you to the author dashboard.
  • Click on the “Manuscripts with Decisions” button on the sidebar.
  • Click «View Submission» under the title of the article/manuscript you want.
  • A PDF file will download and you can use it in the repository.

eJournalPress/EJP/Electronic Journal Press/Manuscript Tracking System: It is used by JAMA Network, Palgrave Macmillan, American Physiological Society, American Association for Cancer Research, JLB, LANDES Bioscience, AGU, SIAM, Allen Press, AAS, American Heart Association, Scrivener Publishing, PNAS, etc. Post-prints are archived for two (2) to five (5) years after publishing.

  • Find the journal submission page and log in.
  • Click on the post-decision manuscript(s) option in the author task guide to access your manuscript(s).
  • Click the article you want to download.
  • Download the “Merged file containing manuscript text and display items”, which should be at the top of the new page in a list of files.

Instructions for Nature Authors:

  • Go to https://www.nature.com/authors/submit_manuscript.html and click the journal where your research was published. Log into your account.
  • Click on the «manuscript(s)» tab. A list of all your submitted manuscripts will appear.
  • Click the link for the article you want to download.
  • Download the “Merged file containing manuscript text and display items”, which should be at the top of the new page under “Manuscript Items” in a list of files.

Editorial Manager: It is used by Elsevier, Taylor & Francis, SpringerNature, Wolters Kluwer, Wiley, University of Chicago Press, κλπ. Post-prints are archived for up to five (5) years after publishing.

  • Find the journal submission page and log in.
  • Click on “submissions with a decision” (some others are “new submissions” and “revisions”).
  • Click on “view submission” next to the article you’d like to download.
  • Before downloading the file, you should check if the PDF includes your reviewer’s comments and if so, you should remove these.

These instructions are taken from Direct2AAM of the Open Access Button.