ScholarShip Author Rights

Your Rights as an Author

Authors often have many questions about the copyrights for their works and how copyright issues affect their ability to deposit work in ScholarShip.

What rights am I, as an author, giving to East Carolina University?

As an author, you never have to give another organization ALL of your copyrights for them to legally store and maintain your work. East Carolina University needs to have authors approve a minimum level of rights transfer, but the agreement used by ScholarShip only asks for non-exclusive rights to keep the work, preserve it, and make it available on the Web. The term "non-exclusive" means that when you deposit a work in ScholarShip, you retain all of the copyrights to your work.

How are past or future agreements with other publishers affected by ScholarShip deposit?

Author rights agreements are quite complex and vary tremendously from publisher to publisher. Some publishers ask authors to grant only very limited rights to their works, others ask for all rights for all time, and others fall somewhere between these extremes.

When your work has already been published

The only way you can determine for certain what rights you have retained to a work is to read the agreement you originally signed with your publisher. If you cannot find your copy of the agreement, you can request it from the publisher. Information on contacting a journal publisher is usually easily located by checking the journal's Web site. If you signed an agreement giving all rights to the work to the publisher (retaining none for yourself), you can still contact the publisher and request permission to deposit the work into ScholarShip. Here is a sample letter to use:

Text for a Letter Requesting Permission for ScholarShip Deposit

Dear [Permissions Manager]:

I am writing to request permission to archive a final version of my manuscript for the article:

[Article Citation]

As author of this work, I transferred my rights to this work to [Publisher] and hence am requesting permission for electronic deposit of the work in the Digital Repository at the East Carolina University (ScholarShip). Depositing an electronic copy of the final manuscript in my institution's digital repository would ensure digital preservation of the intellectual property I created and allow broader access to my work. When depositing the final version of the manuscript, I will provide full citation to the original publication.

Thank you for your consideration of this request. If you have questions or concerns about this request, please feel free to contact me by phone [phone number] or email [address].



[Your name and title]

A web site called Sherpa RoMeo offers another option for determining your publisher's policy on 'self-archiving' - this normally includes depositing to an institutional repository, such as The ScholarShip. You can use this site to find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement.

Many publishers are inclined to maintain goodwill in their relationships with authors and readily grant such rights. Once permission has been received, you are free to deposit the work into ScholarShip.

When an author wants to later publish a work that is deposited in ScholarShip

As an author, you may also decide to deposit a conference paper or other work and then subsequently have an opportunity to publish the same work in a different venue. Authors should note that an issue exists only if it is the same work being published, i.e., the same manuscript. From a copyright standpoint, an article manuscript is a different work from the deposited conference paper from which it has been developed and reworked, even though many of the ideas discussed are the same. The ideas are not copyrighted, the form of their expression is. Just as making the conference presentation does not preclude later publication, depositing the text or slides of the conference paper does not preclude later publication unless the text presented as a new publication is identical to the earlier work.

Authors can discuss this issue with the particular publisher and should read any rights-transfer agreement carefully. Publishers often modify a standard agreement at an author's request. Many publishers' standard agreements allow deposit in institutional repositories or other open archives. If a publisher's standard agreement seems to preclude either prior or later deposit in ScholarShip, an author may be able to add wording to the agreement recognizing the existing deposit or allowing a future deposit.

Finding out more about author rights

Many resources are available for finding out more about author rights. A few key sites are listed here:

Still Have Questions? Check out these pages