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Scholarly Publishing & Communication: Copyright, Author Rights & Fair Use

Locate current resources on all aspects of scholarly publishing and communication across all subject areas.

Copyright

Author Rights

Can I post my own journal article, book chapter or other published work on my own web site, my institutional site, or a site for sharing papers with colleagues in my field?

The answer to this will vary with each work, and the type of web site. It depends on the publisher, the journal (for articles), your agreement with the publisher, the version of the work that you want to post, and whether a federal grant supported that article.

  • Did you retain the rights to post your work on your personal, institutional or governmental web sites when you signed the agreement with the publisher to publish your work? You can use the editable WORD version of the Dartmouth Publication Agreement Amendment for this purpose, or the PDF that covers all rights for journal articles. 
  • What rights does the publisher grant you when publishing in that particular journal? Does the publisher submit articles on your behalf in fulfillment of granting agency requirements? Search for your publisher or journal title in the Sherpa RoMEO site. "Green" is the designation for a publisher or journal policy that allows you the most freedom to post your article. You will also find a list of publishers who allow deposition of the final published version of an article to be deposited in an institutional repository. Look under "general conditions" to see if personal and institutional web sites are included. Many publishers require a full citation to the published version with a permanent link such as the DOI (Digital Object Identifier). 
  • What format of your work does the publisher allow you to post? This is frequently the final peer-reviewed word processor version, NOT the PDF as formatted by the publisher. 
  • Ask for permission if you are not sure! Most publishers list a "rights and permissions" help link on their web sites. If you receive permission, note that.

What happens if I get a takedown notice from a publisher?

Check your agreement to make sure you do not have the rights to post that version. The publisher should be able to prove they have the right to ask you to remove the article.  If you do not have rights to post that version, you may well have rights to post another version such as a preprint or your final peer reviewed manuscript. 

Fair Use