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Open Access & Scholarly Communication

Authors' Rights

When publishing an article, you typically sign a copyright transfer agreement with the publisher. Some of these agreements permit self-archiving and other types of sharing, but others significantly restrict what you can do with your work. An author addendum can help you modify these agreements to retain rights such as sharing your work with colleagues, using your work in the classroom or on Canvas, and posting your work in disciplinary repositories like SSRN.

SPARC (the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition) is a global coalition of over 200 institutions - primarily academic and research libraries in the U.S. and Canada, committed to address issues related to and advance Open Access, Open Data, and Open Education. One of their major contributions is the creation of the SPARC Author Addendum, which has been widely used by authors to start conversations with their publishers about retaining the rights they want and need for their research and teaching.

UO Recommendations

As of 2014, the UO Senate recommended that all UO authors use authors' addenda to insure that they keep the rights they need when they publish scholarly papers. Attach an addendum when you submit the copyright transfer form for a paper you have accepted for publication.

The easiest way to prepare an addendum is to use SPARC's guide. If you would like further assistance in assessing what rights to retain and how to deal with specific publisher agreements, please contact for a consultation.

Some publishers may reject any changes to the publication contract out of hand. If they do so, it is up to you whether you would like to continue to negotiate, accept their terms, or withdraw the paper and identify another publisher. While the exact language of a journal’s copyright transfer agreement may not be openly available, many publisher copyright policies can be located at SHERPA/RoMEO and you may choose to select a journal or publisher based on a combination of  positive reputation and generous copyright policies.

Ideally, you’ll be able to achieve your goals in pursuing an author addendum in the first place, whether it’s classroom use or deposit in the UO’s institutional repository, Scholars’ Bank.