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Copyright Toolkit

Know Your Rights

Publishing articles and works is a common endeavor on campuses and throughout education. Access to publishing tips and how the process typically works will be important in knowing where to publish and what your rights as an author are. Questions you need to ask are how you are able to use your works after they are published. Some publishers will severely limit how you can us your work, while others allow a lot of options. There is no quick and easy answer to what rights you will retain.

Inquiries Journal Blog: 5 Tips for Publishing Your First Academic Article
SPARC: Author Rights
Sherpa/Romeo: Search tool for publisher copyright policies & self-archiving
Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine: Tool that helps you retain certain rights to your work
Know Your Copy Rights: Site for librarians developing programs for academic users

Creative Commons

Say you want your work to available for other people to use and build upon, there are still options for you to be credited for you work. This is where Creative Commons is important, however, there are a few options that you can choose. So while this is a good way to share your work you need to pay attention to how you share it with others. 

Creative Commons
Licenses & Examples
About the Licenses

Using Creative Commons to Search
There is a tremendous amount of works available through the Creative Commons. Fortunately they have a search tool that will help you locate CC works, whether they are music, video, images or other media.

There is a new search tool but it currently only searches for images at this time: CC Image Search
The old search is still available, this one offers a variety of media to search: CC Old Search

Open Access

Peter Suber

Open Access ResourcesPeter Suber is a philosopher specializing in the philosophy of law and open access to knowledge. He is a Senior Researcher at the Berkman Klein Center for Internet & Society, Director of the Harvard Office for Scholarly Communication, and Director of the Harvard Open Access Project. Wikipedia

Additional information about Open Access can be found at

A Couple of Suber's Publications

A Very Brief Introduction to Open Access
Open Access: e-book about OA also available for download

Gold Open Access definition from Springer:

Gold Open AccessGold OA makes the final version of an article freely and permanently accessible for everyone, immediately after publication. Copyright for the article is retained by the authors and most of the permission barriers are removed. Gold OA articles can be published either in fully OA journals (where all the content is published OA) or hybrid journals (a subscription-based journal that offers an OA option which authors can chose if they wish). An overview of fully OA journals can be found in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Green Open Access definition from Springer

Green Open AccessGreen OA, also referred to as self-archiving, is the practice of placing a version of an author’s manuscript into a repository, making it freely accessible for everyone. The version that can be deposited into a repository is dependent on the funder or publisher. Unlike Gold OA the copyright for these articles usually sits with the publisher of, or the society affiliated with, the title and there are restrictions as to how the work can be reused. There are individual self-archiving policies by journal or publisher that determine the terms and conditions e.g. which article version may be used and when the article can be made openly accessible in the repository (also called an embargo period). A list of publishers’ self-archiving policies can be found on the SHERPA/RoMEO database.

Public Domain Works

Even though Copyright laws have restricted the amount of work that have entered the public domain there are still lots of resources available if you know where to look. Remember that since the works found on these pages on public domain you are free to use them however you wish.