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Author Rights

Negotiation Scenarios

The University of Arizona provides a very good guide on how to negotiate

  1. Your article is accepted for publication. 
    • Scenario 1: You are sent via email a publisher agreement as an attachment. 
    • Scenario 2: You accept the final version in the publisher's online manuscript portal. The agreement will be a click-through process. 

Determine which rights you are interested in maintaining. 

Scenario 1:

Easiest of the two scenarios. Engage in a back and forth with the publisher, striking out and adding language as needed. 

If you are using an addendum, Science Commons provides these steps:

  1. Print any relevant addendum (see below for examples), and sign and date it.
  2. Sign and date the publisher's agreement. Immediately below your signature on the publisher's form, write: "Subject to attached Addendum." This is very important because you want to signal that you accept the publisher's agreement only if the publisher accepts your Addendum.
  3. Make a copy of all three documents (the publisher's form, your Addendum, and your cover letter) for your records.
  4. Staple the three original documents together.
  5. Email the three original documents to the publisher.

(Source: Science Commons)

Scenario 2:

Still possible to negotiate but you will need to leave the manuscript system and liaise directly with the editor/publisher.

Attach an addendum to your email requesting whichever rights are most important to you. See section below for sample addendums. 



Tri-Agency Open Access Policy

For researchers who are subject to the Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications, the Agency provides sample wording to include in the Addendum for authors who need to negotiate in order to comply with the policy:

[Journal] acknowledges that the researcher will be entitled to archive an electronic copy of the final, peer-reviewed manuscript for inclusion in McGill Library's eScholarship institutional repository. Manuscripts archived with eScholarship may be made freely available to the public, via the internet, within twelve months of the official date of final publication in the journal.

Source: Tri-Agency Open Access Policy on Publications, Frequently-Asked Questions. 

Sample Addendums

There are several organizations that provide templates for author addendums.

The Rights requested column outlines the particular set of rights this addendum by default advocates for; these are suggestions. The author may include/remove any particular language as they see fit.

Here's an example of how one researcher used modified addendums in their negotiations

Addendum Rights requested
CARL Author Addendum (PDF English, Word editable version)

(i) reproduce the Article in any material form for non-commercial purposes

(ii) to perform the Article in public for non-commercial purposes 

(iii) to convert the Article by preparing derivative works

(iv) to make a sound recording, cinematographic film or other contrivance by means of which the Article may be mechanically reproduced or performed for non-commercial purposes

(v) to reproduce, adapt and publicly present the Article as a cinematographic film for non-commercial purposes

(vi) to communicate the work to the public by telecommunication for non-commercial purposes

(vii) to authorize others to make any non-commercial use of the Article so long as Author receives credit as author and the journal in which the Article has been published is cited as the source of first publication of the Article. For example, Author may make and distribute copies in the course of teaching and research and may post the Article on personal or institutional Web sites and in other open access digital repositories

Additional commitments:  Publisher agrees to provide to Author within 14 days of first publication and at no charge an electronic copy of the published Article in Adobe Acrobat Portable Document Format (PDF). The Security Settings for such copy shall be set to “No Security.”

Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine*

Each addendum gives you

  • non-exclusive rights to create derivative works from your Article
  • the right to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, and publicly display your article in connection with your teaching, conference presentations, lectures, other scholarly works, and professional activities.
Thereafter there are three options for how soon you can make the final published version available and whether you can authorize others to re-use your work in various ways. Below is a summary of these options (source: Scholars Commons):

Three options: 

1. Access - Reuse:

You retain sufficient rights to grant to the reading public a Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial license or similar license that allows the public to re-use or re-post your article so long as you are given credit as the author and so long as the reader's use is non-commercial. 

2. Immediate Access:

You retain sufficient rights to post a copy of the published version of your article (usually in pdf form) online immediately to a site that does not charge for access to the article. 

3. Delayed Access:
You also have the right immediately to post your final version of the article, as edited after peer review, to a site that does not charge for access to the article, but you must arrange not to make the published version of your article available to the public until six months after the date of publication.

* Note these addendums include by default language that refers to the United States government. 

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