Author's rights and author contract

In the following summary you will find what you should pay attention to in the author contract, how you should deal with restrictive exploitation rights and which contract addenda are useful.

Your author's rights and copyrights when publishing on miami

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The University and State Library acquires only a simple and not an exclusive right to use your text.

As the author, you are free to use the text posted on miami at any time. You can post it on your own website, distribute it by email or publish it in a magazine or book online or in print.

If you are seeking further publication with a publisher, please ensure that you can grant the publisher only such a right of use that does not hinder further availability of the document at miami. The simple right of use granted to miami is binding for you when concluding a publishing contract and must be observed.

If you have published your texts via miami, they enjoy the same copyright protection as conventional publishing publications!
In addition, you can still define terms of use, e.g. through a Creative Commons license.

Author's rights and publishing contract in general

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As authors, you always own all rights to your work, but you usually transfer so-called exploitation rights to a publisher in publishing contracts. Authors can choose between the following grants of rights of use:

  • Simple/non-exclusive rights of use
    A simple right of use allows usage of the work in the approved manner without this precluding use by the author himself or by third parties.
    The consequence: A publisher to whom you have transferred only the simple right of use can thus prohibit neither you nor third parties (e.g., University of Münster) from further use.
  • Exclusive rights of use
    If you grant the exclusive right to your work, the publisher can use it to the exclusion of all other persons.
    The consequence: A publisher to whom you have assigned the exclusive right of use can, for example, prohibit you from publishing your work on your own homepage.

Our advice:
Assign exclusive rights (if any) to a publisher only for print products. Assign only the simple rights for the electronic form of publication, then you can still publish your work in parallel on the University of Münster's repository miami!

Generator for open access model contracts

To get a feel for what a good contract for an open access publication might look like, or to have a basis for discussion when negotiating with a publisher, you can use the AuROA contract generator to create a model contract based on various criteria.

Changes to the author contract

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  • Deletion of restrictive exploitation rights
    In new publishing agreements, only grant the simple rights of use for the electronic version of the document. In the simplest case, delete restrictive formulations such as "exclusive" or "all" usage rights or "exclusive rights" for online publication from your publishing agreement. In many cases, publishers will accept these changes.
  • Addenda
    As an alternative to deletions in the contract text, authors may add an addendum to the publishing contract in order to secure the simple right of use for publication on the university's document server. This addendum must be countersigned by the publisher to become legally valid.

Examples: The best known contract addendum is the "Author's Addendum" of the "Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition" (SPARC).

  • Addendum in German: Für eine Online-Veröffentlichung des Werkes wird dem Verlag ein einfaches Nutzungsrecht eingeräumt. Dem Autor bzw. der Autorin steht es frei, eine digitale Kopie des Dokumentes vor/während/nach der Publikation durch den Verlag zeitlich unbeschränkt auf einen öffentlich zugänglichen Non-Profit akademischen Server zu legen.
  • Addendum in English: I hereby declare that I do not wish to assign the exclusive copyright to (name of the publisher) but reserve the right to publish the article in full on an open access platform.

Open access publication of your work independent of the publishing contract

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  • Possibilities in the Copyright Act
    §38 of the Copyright Act allows you to otherwise reproduce and distribute a magazine article after the expiration of one year, even if you have granted the publisher exclusive rights. This right can be excluded in the publishing contract and/or in the general terms and conditions. Please pay attention to this and do not let yourself be deprived of this right.
  • Offer of the publishers: SHERPA/RoMEO list
    The discussion about open access has increased the pressure on many specialist publishers. In some cases, they allow parallel electronic publication of the publisher's documents. However, in some cases this is subject to conditions. For example, sometimes only the manuscript version may be used, but not the published publisher's PDF file. The SHERPA/RoMEO list provides information on what publishers permit with regard to the self-archiving of scientific publications, but does not offer any legal certainty.
  • DFG alliance and national licenses
    Furthermore, articles published by authors of the University of Münster in a journal with an alliance or national license can also be published on the document server miami. The exact conditions can be found in the handout on open access options in alliance and national licenses.

Further information:
FAQ on the second publication right of the "Digitale Information" Priority Initiative
Second publication rights for scientists – Current legal situation and recommendations for action (M. Spielkamp)

Our advice:
Notify us of your publications. We will check under which conditions we can publish your documents electronically on the University of Münster's document server miami.

Source in part: KIT, Karlsruhe Institute of Technology