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Open Access

A guide to open access for Macalester faculty, staff, students.

Author Rights

When faculty publish their work in scholarly journals, they are often asked to sign away their copyright to the journal publisher. This loss of copyright means that faculty may not retain the right to post the article on their own web site or to make it electronically available through an electronic archive. Many scholarly societies and research universities have come to see this restriction on the free exchange of ideas as a crisis, and have developed recommendations and procedures advocating that faculty negotiate to retain their copyright privileges. 

In an effort to encourage more open access to scholarly works, the library has a small fund available to cover the costs of open access fees.  More information about APCs and our publishing agreements.

Open Access Does Not Guarantee Copyright Retention

The spirit of Creative Commons Licensing, in open access publishing and other use cases, is that the author retains copyright while clearly granting others certain types of reuse. However, depending on the the publishing agreement that you sign, you may be signing the copyrights over to the publisher. This means that you do not have any more rights over your work than anyone else, per the Creative Commons License that has been applied–this may include "Non-Commercial" and "Non-Derivative" (e.g. CC-BY-NC-ND) uses.

Many native open access publishers and societies use a "non-exclusive license" language that grants the publisher certain rights and the author remains the "copyright owner."

"The Owner herby grants [publisher name] a non-exclusive publishing and distribution license..."

However, if you would like to retain your copyright, don't hesitate to question confusing license agreements that grant the publisher "exclusive rights."

"...the Author hereby grants to the exclusive license of all rights of copyright in and to the Contribution that the Author does not grant under the CC BY_NC-ND license..."

"...I understand that I retain the copyright in the Article and that no rights...are transferred to the Journal. As the author of the Article, I understand that I shall have the same rights to reuse the Article as those allowed to third party users of the Article under the CC-BY-NC-ND License...I have granted to the Journal the exclusive right to make or sub-license commercial use."

Author Addendum

SPARC has prepared an Author Addendum (pdf), a document which authors of articles may use to negotiate to retain rights at the time of submission to publishers.  

For more information, see the SPARC web site for Resources for Authors.