Copyright and publishers


Understandably, copyright is an area of concern for depositors.  The information here should answer most questions. If you require additional advice, contact the Research Archive Specialist.

Who owns the copyright of my publication?

If you are the author of the publication, you are the copyright owner. However, when your paper is accepted for publication, the publisher agreement may require you to transfer the copyright to the publisher and places restrictions on using or distributing your work.

What are the copyright implications of depositing in AURA?

If the publisher owns the copyright, it may allow you to place a specific version in AURA. You should check the publisher's policies on their website or contact the Research Archive Specialist for assistance. Even if your publisher prevents you from depositing your paper, you should still upload the bibliographic details and a link to the article and/or the publisher’s website.

If you own the copyright you are free to deposit the publication in the repository. 

Journal articles can be deposited depending on your publisher agreement. The agreement should state if, when and how you are permitted to make the paper available on AURA (this is sometimes referred to as 'self-archiving'). On RoMEO you may check for the details on the publisher polices. Some publishers may grant permission on specific application even if you have signed your copyright away. Most publishers do not allow their branded PDF to be uploaded, but often allow your own final version of the article to be uploaded. Some publishers may impose an embargo, after which you may upload the full text article.

Conference papers can be deposited if copyright has not be assigned elsewhere by the organisers. Otherwise you need to contact the publisher of the proceedings.

Books and chapters can only be uploaded if you have retained the copyright, though you should check your publisher agreement. If you do not have the publisher agreement, you should send a request to your book publisher for the permission to deposit the publication.

Non-text items (e.g. images, artwork, audio, etc.), please contact the Research Archive Specialist to discuss how to make these available. 

Why should I still upload the bibliographic information if the publisher prevents me from placing the full text in AURA?

There are several reasons why you should still upload the bibliographic information:

  • you ensure that your publication record is complete, up-to-date, preserved and permanently available
  • you inform a worldwide audience about your work, who may contact you for an offprint or purchase a copy from the publisher
  • you enrich the content of AURA, with a minimal effort, enhancing your own profile and Aston's
  • publishers may change their mind and allow the deposit retrospectively. In the meantime you will have raised awareness of your publication

What copyright does the University retain?

Depositing your items on the repository does not change your rights, which are dependant on the publisher agreement. Please see the University IP Policy, however generally:

  • Journal articles, books and book chapters: the copyright belongs to the publisher or the author, depending on the publishing agreement signed by the author.
  • Working papers and technical reports: whether published within Aston or unpublished, copyright remains with the author, unless the author has specifically assigned copyright to Aston. Under our current Intellectual Property policy, Aston has waived ownership of copyright of such works in favour of the author.
  • PhD dissertations: copyright belongs to the student.  

What is the benefit to a publisher who allows authors to make their full text freely available?

More and more publishers are developing policies favorable to institutional repositories, suggesting that they do not have an adverse effect on the sale of journals.

Furthermore publishers who only prevent the deposit of the publisher PDF see the repository as means of showcasing the paper. In fact, once you deposit your final draft, in the comment field, you may need to put a copyright statement such as: "When citing this article, please refer to the publisher version in [journal title and volume details]". 

How do I ensure that my publication is correctly cited?

When a user selects your publication for viewing, before the document itself opens, there is summary page, which gives the correct citation for the paper. When you upload the documents, you need only to input the correct bibliographic details in the fields. 

Do open access repositories encourage plagiarism?

Although it is true that the availability of electronic text makes it easy to cut and paste sections, depositing in a repository is an additional deterrent to plagiarism as:

  • it is much easier to detect plagiarism than traditional paper-only publishing. In fact online publications are accompanied with dates and appropriate metadata.
  • a full text-item deposited in the Repository is protected by the Copyright, Design and Patent Act 1988.
  • publications' text is indexed by search engines, making it easier and quicker to check if text has been plagiarised.
  • many institutions use software that checks dissertations, scanning the web for strings of text and highlighting cases of plagiarism.

Will making my work freely available affect my Intellectual Property Rights (IPR)?

Uploading items to AURA does not affect any of your rights, on the contrary, it helps to assert your copyright worldwide. However if you expect to make money from your work (for example, a book), understandably you will not want it to be freely available through the repository. In these cases you may deposit just bibliographic details or impose an embargo on the full-text until you made the most of your royalties.

I do not have a copy of my publication, can I scan it from the printed journal?

Check your publisher agreement or contact the publisher. 

My publication contains third party copyright material, can I still upload it?

When you published your work, you should have obtained written permission to include third party material in your work. Unless this permission explicitly allows you to upload the material online, you should obtain permission in writing.

Should I deposit my work in the repository before it is accepted by a publisher?

No. Making your research available before publication may harm the commercial value of your research and inhibit your chances of securing a publishing agreement. 

What is the Deposit Licence? Do I have to sign it?

When you upload items to AURA you are asked to agree to the Deposit Licence. This grants Aston the right to make a copy of your work available online, to alter its format as necessary and to remove it if deemed necessary in accordance with the take-down policy.

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