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Institutional Repository Services

Copyright Transfer Agreement Checklist

Publication always involves the exercise of copyrights. Whether you are vetting potential publishers for a new work or reviewing the terms under which you previously published a work, it is important to understand the copyright terms. Understanding and protecting your copyrights is especially important to preserve your right to self-archive and distribute your work in an open-access repository, like Digital Commons@Georgia Southern, or in your SelectedWorks profile.

Use the library's Copyright Transfer Agreement Checklist, available below, to evaluate any publisher's copyright transfer agreement (CTA), either before or after you publish. If you have any questions about how to interpret a CTA or use the checklist, contact the Digital Commons Team.


General Rights
Does the CTA protect the following general rights? Note any restrictions.
 

___ Right to be cited as the author
This is a basic right that should be in all contracts. If not explicit, ask the publisher.

Restrictions:    _______________________

 

___ Right to transmit, print, and share copies with colleagues
Some sharing is common, but restrictions can vary greatly.

Restrictions:    _______________________

 

___ Right to reuse in other publications
Look for any restrictions on the amount that can be reused.

Restrictions:    _______________________

 

___ Right to use in teaching or training
Can you use your work for course packs, e-reserves, presentations at conferences, or distance learning?

Restrictions:    _______________________


 

Self-Archiving Rights
Does the CTA protect your right to self-archive and distribute a copy of your work via a personal website or an open-access institutional repository, such as Digital Commons@Georgia Southern? Such rights typically are granted based on the version of the work (i.e., pre-prints, post-prints, and published versions).
 

Pre-Prints
Self-archiving rights often granted; less desirable, but better than nothing.

___ Right to self-archive
Are you granted any right to self-archive a pre-print, regardless of other restrictions?

 

___ Platform Restrictions
Does the publisher place any restrictions on the website or platform on which you can self-archive?

Restrictions:    _______________________

 

___ Embargo Restrictions
Does the publisher specify how many months after publication you must delay self-archiving?

Restrictions:    _______________________

 

___ Other Restrictions or Requirements
Does the publisher place any other restrictions on self-archiving pre-prints?

Restrictions:    _______________________


 

Post-Prints
Self-archiving rights are frequently granted following an embargo.

___ Right to self-archive
Are you granted any right to self-archive a pre-print, regardless of other restrictions?

 

___ Platform Restrictions
Does the publisher place any restrictions on the website or platform on which you can self-archive?

Restrictions:    _______________________

 

___ Embargo Restrictions
Does the publisher specify how many months after publication you must delay self-archiving?

Restrictions:    _______________________

 

___ Other Restrictions or Requirements
Does the publisher place any other restrictions on self-archiving pre-prints?

Restrictions:    _______________________


 

Published Version
Self-archiving rights are rarely granted, but this is the best-case scenario.

___ Right to self-archive
Are you granted any right to self-archive a pre-print, regardless of other restrictions?

 

___ Platform Restrictions
Does the publisher place any restrictions on the website or platform on which you can self-archive?

Restrictions:    _______________________

 

___ Embargo Restrictions
Does the publisher specify how many months after publication you must delay self-archiving?

Restrictions:    _______________________

 

___ Other Restrictions or Requirements
Does the publisher place any other restrictions on self-archiving pre-prints?

Restrictions:    _______________________


 

If the publisher retains all rights, or so many right that it will inhibit your ability to teach, research, or create new knowledge, consider the following options:

  • Request that the publisher add an addendum to your existing agreement or license that returns self-archiving or other desired rights to you.
  • If the publisher will not accept a contract addendum, request that the terms of your agreement or license be modified to permit self-archiving.
  • If the publisher will accept a license to publish, consider licensing your work using a Creative Commons license, or use the publisher’s already-prepared license.
  • If the publisher will not work with you to restore your rights, you may be able to reclaim your copyright by sending a termination notice to the publisher and registering the termination with the United States Copyright Office.
  • Contact your Library Liaison or the Digital Commons Team for additional help.

Checklist adapted from Truesdell, C. (2012). Checklist for Reviewing Publisher Copyright Agreements.

 

For help, contact the Digital Commons Team at (912) 478-4056 or digitalcommons@georgiasouthern.edu. A member of the Digital Commons Team will contact you as soon as possible during regular business hours.