Skip to main content

Open Access

Author rights

As an author you own exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute and modify your work. You hold these rights unless and until you transfer copyright to another person or organisation.  

When submitting your work to a publisher, read the publisher/author agreement carefully. Publishers require a licence to distribute your work, but many agreements include the transfer of additional rights. If you transfer copyright to a publisher and subsequently attempt to reproduce, distribute or modify your work, this may infringe copyright.  

Some questions to consider when reviewing an agreement include: 

  • Does the agreement allow your work to be used for future educational or professional purposes?  
  • Are you able to distribute copies in a classroom? 
  • Can you reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, and publicly display the work (in any medium)? 
  • Does the agreement allow self-archiving in your institutional repository or personal website?  
  • Are the terms of the agreement compatible with the open access policy of your institution or funder? For example, can you meet the UNSW requirement to deposit a copy of your article in UNSWorks within twelve months of publication? 

After reviewing the terms of your agreement, you may choose to negotiate with your publisher. A useful tool during this process is an author addendum, which can help you to retain key rights and allow you to re-use, disseminate and archive your work more freely. The UNSW Open Access Policy includes an official UNSW self-archiving addendum: 

"The Author has the right to publicly archive their revised, peer-reviewed personal version of their paper on their institutional website and their personal website, provided in all cases a link to the journal article on the Publisher website is included." 

You may also consider publishing in high-quality fully open access outlets, which allow your work to be freely accessible and generally do not place restrictions on self-archiving and re-use.