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Author Rights and Publishing Resources

Understand and take control of your rights as the creator of new research and scholarship

Understanding copyright transfer agreements

As the author of a work, you are the copyright holder unless and until you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement. An author who has transferred copyright without retaining any rights may not be able to place the work on course web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in Cougar ROAR, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. Remember that transferring copyright doesn't have to be all or nothing and publisher agreements are negotiable.


What are your options when presented with a publisher's agreement?

1) Transfer all of your rights to the publisher

2) Transfer the copyright to the publisher but retain certain rights

3) Retain all of your rights and license the rights to the publisher

Questions to ask before signing a copyright transfer agreement

Before signing away the rights to your research, carefully consider the following set of questions, which will help you determine which of your rights are most important to the future life of your scholarship. These are the rights you will want to retain as you progress through the contract negotiation process with your publisher.

  • Would you like to send copies of the article to colleagues?
  • Do you want to post a copy on your course Web site?
  • Do you want to include a copy with your online CV?
  • Do you want to deposit a copy in the UH Institutional Repository or other open access digital repository?
  • Do you want to publish a translation of the article in another language?
  • Do you want to distribute copies for a conference presentation?
  • Do you want to assign it as a reading to students?