As the author or creator of a work, you initially hold the copyright in the item. At the time of publication, many authors transfer the some or all of their copyrights to the publisher. Publisher agreements vary a lot, and some do allow authors to retain some rights, but many of these agreements transfer the entirety of the copyright away from the author.
Read your publisher agreement or copyright transfer agreement carefully. If you have questions about it, contact a librarian.
If you transfer all copyright to the publisher
- Current and future use of your work is entirely controlled by the publisher, including the ability to make derivative works such as translations.
- You have no more right to copy, share or reuse your work (for example in teaching or in future publication) than a anyone else has under the fair use portions of copyright law.
Many publishers have changed their agreements to allow authors to post a copy of their work on a personal website or institutional repository. There are several different versions that publishers may allow authors to post:
- preprint - the version of the article before peer review
- postprint - the peer reviewed version of the article, usually without the formatting supplied by the publisher
- publisher's final version
Read your publisher agreement carefully to understand which version you are allowed to post and where you are allowed to post it. The SHERPA/RoMEO website collects a wide range of publisher agreements that you can consult if you cannot locate your original agreement.