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Author Rights: Your Rights, and Keeping Them

Information for researchers to consider during the publication process.

Important Resources

Non-Exclusive Distribution License

The license you must agree to in order to submit peer-reviewed articles to UWSpace. 

SPARC Author Addendum

The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles. The Author Addendum is a free resource developed by SPARC in partnership with the Canadian Association of Research Libraries (CARL), established non-profit organizations that offer a range of copyright options for many different creative endeavors. - Text from the SPARC Author Addendum website. 

Author Rights - Your Rights Under the Act

The Copyright Act provides creators of works with specific rights, as outlined in Section 3 the Copyright Act.

You can find answers to questions related to your rights under copyright law in the Copyright Guidelines FAQ page. Of particular interest to authors are FAQ numbers 1.4 and 1.13.

Author rights allow you to:

  • Reproduce your work
  • Create new works based on your original work
  • Share your work with whomever you choose
  • Perform, display, or broadcast your work in public

You have the right to transfer all or some of your rights to a third party. For more information see the box, "Publishing Concerns and Considerations" on the left hand side. 

Keeping Your Rights

As part of getting your journal article or book published, publishers will require you to sign an agreement allowing them to certain rights to your work. Publishing agreements differ, with some publishers agreements asking for more of your rights than others. If you sign away all your rights to a publisher you will no longer control what you can and can not do with your work. For example, you may no longer be able to place your work in UWSpace, the University's institutional repository. 


  • Always do a careful reading of any Publisher agreement (see samples in the box below, "Sample Publishing Agreements")
  • Always keep a copy of the Publisher agreement you sign
  • Use the SPARC Author Addendum to retain important rights

If you have already published and are unsure of your rights, there are several places to look for more information:

  • SHERPA/RoMEO is a database of publisher copyright policies and self-archiving rights. Search the journal or publisher of your article to find out what rights the publisher generally assigns. 
  • Publisher websites frequently contain an "Author Rights" or similar webpage that outline the rights the publisher extends to authors. 
  • Contact the publisher directly.

Sample Publishing Agreements

Below are copies of sample publishing agreements, in PDF,  used by some of the larger publishers. They have been highlighted to reflect areas of interest to authors. In particular areas where you give or receive rights are highlighted. In reading these agreements, take note of the rights you are being asked to sign away, and what the agreement will allow you to do with your work after it's published. 

These are examples only; your publisher will provide you with the agreement they wish you to sign. Always carefully review your publishing agreement before signing, and consider using the SPARC Author Addendum to maximize the rights you keep to use your work.