We call on UC authors and scholars … to exercise control of their scholarship … to ensure the widest dissemination of works…. *
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.
Copyright is a bundle of rights, not just one right. You do not have to surrender all your copyrights when you publish, though some publishers may ask you to do so. Transfer of copyrights can lead to problems, for example, you may not be able to make copies of your own work to share with your students or colleagues without permission. Transfer of copyrights to the publisher also confers enormous market power on the publisher, as the exclusive owner of the rights to your work.
By retaining your copyright, or by transferring your copyright but retaining some rights, you can control the dissemination of your research. By removing access barriers (including cost) you allow more readers to access your scholarship. UC recommends that you can retain at least some of your rights:
- You can amend the copyright transfer agreement that you get from your publisher -- or you can ask one of us and we would be happy to help you.
- You can use this form which allows you to Keep Copyrights and Transfer Limited Rights to the publisher.
- Or you can Transfer copyrights but reserve some rights, by using the language from that webpage or from the Amendment to Publication Agreement.
* from The Case for Scholars' Management of Their Copyright (PDF) endorsed by the UC Academic Council, April 2006