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Frequently Asked Questions

Frequently Asked Questions
  1. What do authors need to know about copyright?
  2. I have co-authored this article with someone else. Who holds the copyright?
  3. What can authors do to retain their copyright?
  4. Can I adapt my publisher’s standard contract?
  5. Which rights should I retain and not transfer to my publisher?
  6. To what extent can I reuse my publication after transferring my rights to the publisher?
  7. What are the consequences of the Taverne legal amendment for me?
  8. Will I lose my copyrights if I publish in open access?
  9. Can anyone simply copy my publication if anyone has access to it?
  10. Does the fact that anyone can read and copy my publications have implications for my copyrights?
  11. I want to upload my articles to Pure, but I have transferred my copyrights; what should I do?
  12. I want to upload my dissertation to Pure. Can I still have it published by a publisher after that?
  13. What if one or more chapters of my dissertation contain material that has already been offered to a publisher for publication but has not been accepted yet, or materials that will be offered for publication within 12 months?
  14. Where can I ask my questions about copyright?

1. What do authors need to know about copyright?
Copyright is the exclusive right of the creator of a work of literature, science or art to publish and make copies of this work – the maker’s exploitation right. Copyright aims to protect the authors of a work and to stimulate the distribution of their work.

Publishers often ask authors to relinquish their copyrights and transfer them to the publisher.

However, this is not always the case: influenced by the internet and the open-access movement, many publishers no longer claim exclusive exploitation rights but agree to the execution of these rights on behalf of the author. This is arranged through a non-exclusive agreement or a license. A license includes your agreements with the publisher on the use, the exploitation of your work. One frequently used type of license is the Creative Commons license. Through this license, authors can indicate exactly which types of use are free of charge and which types of use are prohibited.

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2. I have co-authored this article with someone else. Who holds the copyright?
You will probably hold joint copyrights, so you will need permission from your co-author(s) for everything you want to do with the material.

No consent from your co-author(s) is needed if:

  • Your work is part of a common work whose works belong together and have been adjusted to one another but are separable, e.g. an article in a handbook.
  • The contributions of several authors are still discernible.

If the publication is a common, inseparable work, in which the various contributions of the authors are no longer discernible, you will always need the permission of all authors involved for the exploitation of the publication.

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3. What can authors do to retain their copyright?
You are not obliged to fully hand over your copyrights to the publisher. SURF has developed a
model contract to reach a mutually satisfactory arrangement between authors and publishers for the publication of articles. This license to publish is the result of many years of international dialogue and is meant to strike a balance between rights and interests in the fast-developing world of academic communication. The license to publish adheres to the principle that the outcomes of publicly financed research should enter the public domain as soon as possible. The author retains ownership of the material and thus the right to upload them to Pure or use them as teaching material. If the publisher agrees, you can use the publisher's PDF. Public access may be postponed as publishers may insist on introducing an embargo for a period of time.

The license and more information about it.

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4. Can I adapt my publisher's standard contract?
A contract reflects an agreement between two parties. Publishers usually have a standard agreement for the publication of your material, but that does not mean that alterations cannot be made. Be clear about your wishes and ask your publisher to incorporate them in the contract. Though it will often require negotiations, you are certainly not obliged to simply sign the standard agreement
What can authors do to retain their copyright?

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5. Which rights should I retain and not transfer to my publisher?
Some of the most important rights to retain when publishing include:

  • The right to reuse an article for inclusion in a book or textbook
  • The right to rewrite and adapt an article
  • The right to disseminate the article to your colleagues
  • The right to copy your article for teaching purposes
  • The right to have the full text of the article included in a repository, e.g. Pure

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6. To what extent can I reuse my publication after transferring my rights to the publisher?
What you can do with your publication after the transfer of rights to a publisher depends on the agreement made. Have you signed a written agreement in which you transfer all rights to the publisher or grant the publisher the exclusive rights of use on the publication? In that case, you will need the publisher’s permission to disseminate your publication, e.g. through your own or a third-party website, or to reuse it, e.g. in a volume with other publications.

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7. What are the consequences of the Taverne legal amendment for me?
The Taverne legal amendment came into force in July 2015. It is important for all academic authors employed by Dutch universities. The essence is that academic articles, the research for which has been funded, fully or in part, by the government, can be placed in an open-access environment by the author within a reasonable term. While this includes research funded fully or in part by the Dutch government, it does not include European grants. The interpretation of the phrase ‘a reasonable term’ is still under debate.

More information about this legal amendment .

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8. Will I lose my copyrights if I publish in open access?
No, you will not. Authors always retain their copyrights unless they explicitly transfer them to, for example, a publisher.

We advise you to publish research publications as open access, so that they are freely available to all. Read more on open access and the UG .

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9. Can anyone simply copy my publication if anyone has access to it?
Yes, that is indeed the case, as with any other digital document. However, this merely mean that users are allowed to store a copy of your publication on their own computer for comfortable reading and for their own use. The latter is important: they are not allowed to freely disseminate the document.

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10. Does the fact that anyone can read and copy my publications have implications for my copyrights?
No, these activities do not affect your copyrights. In principle, it does not matter whether a printed text or an electronic file is copied. The same restrictions apply to both versions regarding reuse. No one can claim your work as their own. And no one may change or disseminate its content without your express permission, regardless of the technological possibilities.

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11. I want to upload my articles to Pure, but I have transferred my copyrights; what should I do?
The University will ask you to submit your publications, both the publisher's version, the PDF and, preferably, the post-print version too. The Library checks the publisher's rights before making the publication accessible. However, if you have this information yourself, please enter it under ‘Rights statement’.

Frequently, a publisher's version cannot be made available in full text while another version, e.g. a post-print or a pre-print, can. The Library checks this.

More information about Pure .

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12. I want to upload my dissertation to Pure. Can I still have it published by a publisher after that?
The PhD regulations oblige PhD students to supply the University of Groningen Library with an electronic version of their PhD thesis through Hora Finita . PhD students must sign the license agreement offered through Hora Finita for non-exclusive publication of their PhD thesis through the University of Groningen Repository, Pure. In doing so, PhD students retain the copyrights and are thus free to choose a publisher for any commercial edition. See also the next question .

More information about electronic dissertations and license agreements and PhD regulations

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13. What if one or more chapters of my dissertation contain material that has already been offered to a publisher for publication but has not been accepted yet, or material that will be offered for publication within 12 months?
Please indicate in the license agreement under exception 2 which chapter(s) are involved, and the Library will impose a 1-year embargo on them. Should the embargo require extension in the course of that year, please file a request with the University of Groningen Library .

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14. Where can I ask questions about copyrights?
Please send an e-mail to copyright@rug.nl .

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Last modified:06 February 2019 3.34 p.m.
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