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Open Access: Copyright / Author Rights

A guide for researchers and authors who want to read or publish in open-access publications

Degrees of Open Access Licensing

Creative Commons logos

Authors and publishers can grant varying degrees of open access for material they write and publish. Creative Commons licencing is one type of open-access licencing that enables authors to retain copyright of their work while determining what, if any, limits they want on its use and re-use.

Creative Commons provides a quick overview of its layered licences, and a Licence Chooser that can help authors decide which licence might be best for them.

For example, a Creative Commons Attribution licence lets anyone distribute, remix, tweak and build upon an author's work, even commercially, as long as the author is given credit for the original creation. By comparison, a more restrictive Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial ShareAlike licence lets users remix, tweak and build upon an author's work, as long as the use is non-commercial, credited, and licenced under identical Creative Commons terms.

Canadian Creative Commons Licences - includes a summary (licence deed), and legal code for each CC licence.

Publisher Copyright Policies & Self-Archiving

The following sources provide information about publisher policies with regard to self-archiving of scholarly articles. These sources are not comprehensive; in some cases it will be necessary to contact the journal publisher directly to ask about the policies that relate to a specific journal title.

    Searchable by journal title or publisher name, this site provides information on publisher permissions related to the self-archiving of journal articles.
  • Publisher Policies on NIH-funded Authors
    Publisher policies related to authors funded by the US National Institutes of Health.

Author Concerns about OA

CAUT Intellectual Property Advisory: Retaining Copyright in Journal Articles

"Journals require only your permission to
publish an article, not a wholesale transfer
of the full copyright interest. To promote
scholarly communication, autonomy, integrity
and academic freedom, and education
and research activities more generally, it is
important for academic staff to retain copyright in their journal articles."

CAUT Intellectual Property Advisory, #1, July 2008