Skip to Main Content
university logo

University Library

ScholarWorks @ Cal State LA

Increase the Visibility of Your Scholarly Publications and Research!

Copyright Requirements for ScholarWorks

In order for your work to be considered for inclusion in ScholarWorks, at least one of the following criteria must be met:

  • You own the copyright to your work.

  • You have obtained written permission from the copyright holder allowing your work to be preserved and disseminated (aka "self-archived") in an institutional repository.

If you are unsure whether your work meets the above requirements, the information below can help get you started in determining what rights you have to your publications.

Understanding Your Rights

The author is the copyright holder.

Unless you transfer the copyright to someone else in a signed agreement, as the author of a work you are the copyright holder.

Assigning your rights matters.

Normally, the copyright holder possesses the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, and modification of the original work. An author who has transferred copyright without retaining these rights must ask permission unless the use is one of the statutory exemptions in copyright law.

The copyright holder controls the work.

Decisions concerning use of the work, such as distribution, access, pricing, updates, and any use restrictions belong to the copyright holder. Authors who have transferred their copyright without retaining any rights may not be able to place the work on course Web sites, copy it for students or colleagues, deposit the work in a public online archive, or reuse portions in a subsequent work. That’s why it is important to retain the rights you need.

Transferring copyright doesn’t have to be all or nothing.

The law allows you to transfer copyright while holding back rights for yourself and others.

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resource Coalition (SPARC) offers excellent information on securing the rights for works that your have authored.

Today many authors are signing amended publisher agreements that permit them to retain certain rights, such as the SPARC Author Addendum. Also, these same authors can selectively pre-grant permission for others to use or distribute their works according to pre-set conditions through such means as a Creative Commons license. This idea of selectively retaining rights has become a central point in reshaping the concept of Scholarly Communication.

MIT Libraries offers some information on common misconceptions concerning author's rights, such as misconceptions on sharing your work on your web page or using your work in classroom settings. It is becoming increasingly important that authors are aware of their rights, especially when they have signed a contract with a publisher.

Finding Publisher Copyright and Self-Archiving Policies

Image result for sherparomeo

In addition to impact and cost-effectiveness, other factors to consider when choosing a publisher include the publisher's copyright and archiving policies. A consortium of UK academic institutions has developed the Sherpa/Romeo database.You may use this database to find a summary of permissions that are typically given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement. Use this as a baseline from which to negotiate with the publisher for greater control over your scholarship.


Step 1: Please find out your Journal's copyright policy from the SherpaRomeo page or from the following link.



Step 2: You can check if your publisher allows you to archive your article into your institutional repository.


Definitions of Pre-Print, Post-Print, and Publisher's Manuscript Versions

The pre-print is the author’s manuscript version of the publication that has been submitted to a journal for consideration for publication. If published in a peer-reviewed publication, the pre-print does not reflect any revisions made during the peer-review process.



The post-print is the author’s final manuscript of the publication, which is submitted to the publisher for publication. If published in a peer-reviewed publication, the post-print contains all revisions made during the peer-review process. It does not, however, reflect any layout or copy editing done by the publisher in preparation for publication.


The published version is the final version of the article produced by the publisher. When dealing with hard-copy publications, this is the printed version found in books, proceedings and journals. In the digital environment, the published version is usually a PDF available through the publisher’s Web site or through article databases (although for some online publications, the published version may be in HTML or other file formats).



Definitions taken from Inefuku, H. (2013) Pre-Print, Post-Print or Offprint? A guide to publication versions, permissions and the digital repository

Retrieved from

John F. Kennedy Memorial Library
California State University, Los Angeles
5151 State University Drive
Los Angeles, CA 90032-8300