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This festive season, think twice before tying a ribbon around a goose’s neck.

By Christina Daouti, on 8 December 2023

Copyright applies to various creative works: books, articles, teaching resources, blogs, websites, datasets, software, photos, images, music, film, recordings, plays…To use (e.g., copy, include in your own work, adapt, share, post on the web) a substantial part of a copyright work, you normally need permission from the rights holder.

As Christmas is traditionally a season of generosity, some might hope that copyright laws and regulations would be suspended during the festive period (you never know; stranger things have happened). Alas, this is not the case: the Christmas spirit does not extend to copyright. This means that your beloved Christmas songs, stories, images and films are still protected, unless they are old enough to have entered the public domain.

To stay within the law – and on Father Christmas’s ‘nice’ list – this year, be aware of the following:

  1.  Books, articles, poems, letters to Father Christmas, messages on Christmas cards: all these may qualify as ‘literary works’ and are, by default, protected by copyright, whether they are in hard or digital form, published or unpublished. This means that if a friend has drafted a beautiful season’s greeting message, copying it without permission would be copyright infringement, even if you acknowledged them as the author.
  2. You can eat, drink and be merry without fear of infringing copyright. As indicated in the well-known cheese case, the taste of a food may not be protected: two brands of mince pie or two roast turkeys may taste the same without a chef having infringed the other’s copyright. However, copyright protection could, in some cases, apply to the wording of the recipes themselves.
  3. Christmas music may be protected unless copyright has expired. For instance, you would need permission or a licence to play a song in public or share a recording with others.  Music copyright is complex, as different rights may apply the composition score, the lyrics and the recording of the performance. For example, you should be able to record your own version of Silent Night, as copyright has expired for this song; but you cannot use a recording that is still in copyright. Likewise, while you can enjoy a cosy night in watching your favourite Christmas film with friends, a public showing of the film would normally require a licence.
  4. Photos, drawings and other images are, by default, protected as artistic works. Even if they are available to download on the internet, they may not be free to reuse unless accompanied by a licence permitting reuse. Designs on Christmas jumpers, cards, crackers and gift wrap may be subject to both design rights and copyright.
Part of the 'Flightstop' sculpture, showing a group of Canadian geese in flight, against a glass ceiling.

Simon Law, CC BY-SA 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons

5. The law also protects the moral rights of creators, including the right to be recognised as the author of a work and the right to object to derogatory treatment of a work. For example, in 1982 the artist Michael Snow successfully sued the Toronto Eaton Centre for derogatory treatment of his sculpture Flightstop, which included sixty Canada geese in flight. In the spirit of Christmas, the centre had decorated the necks of the geese with red ribbons. The judge found that doing so violated the moral rights of the artist (not the geese!) as it compromised the integrity of the work.

Staying creative

Understanding how copyright applies to others’ works should not stop you from being creative, whether this is about dressing up your goose, writing a Christmas song or doing research. For example, you may still be able to use copyright materials without permission if you rely on a copyright exception such as quotation, criticism and review or parody and pastiche. Several copyright exceptions can be used if the use is ‘fair dealing’. This is a matter of judgement that has perhaps more nuance than a ‘naughty-or-nice’ list.

We have discussed fair dealing in previous posts. To learn more, you may also want to complete our Copyright Essentials online tutorial or register for one of our upcoming sessions.

Contact us at copyright@ucl.ac.uk if you have any questions.

Writefest, publications and copyright: advice and new resources

By Christina Daouti, on 9 November 2023

A wooden surface where someone's hands are visible. Left hand is holding a cup of coffee resting on the surface and the right hand is holding a pencil and writing in a blank notebook. Orange autumn leaves seen at the top of the picture.

Image by Freepik.

Are you settling well into November? We hope you have the chance to take part in WriteFest (also known as Academic Writing Month), an annual opportunity to set writing goals, protect your time to write, adopt some good writing practices and overcome writing blocks, while sharing your writing experiences with others. UCL Researcher Experience lists some great training opportunities and writing retreats suitable for UCL staff and research students.

This post is about good practices addressing what happens after you have completed your writing.

Whether you are writing a thesis, presentation, journal article, book chapter or a whole monograph, you will most likely want to reuse your work in ways that matter to you: for example, share it with others, post it online, reuse it in your teaching and in public engagement activities. You will also want to be able to decide how others may reuse your work. These decisions are important to you as an author, but it’s worth remembering that your research funders (including UKRI, the Wellcome Trust and the European Commission) also have open access requirements that determine how your work will be published and shared.

To be able to share your work as openly as possible, you may want to:

  • Keep rights that will allow you to reuse your own work. This can be achieved in different ways, from publishing open access to including a rights retention statement when you submit an article. The first step is to become more aware of what a copyright transfer agreement means and how it may be stop you from reusing your work openly. To learn more about this, please see our Copyright and your research publications page or drop us an email at copyright@ucl.ac.uk.
  • Choose a licence that helps you determine how others may reuse your work. Creative Commons attribution licences are designed to help authors determine how a work may be reused. All licences allow copying and sharing the work, as long as the author is attributed. Different types of licences have different restrictions (e.g. around allowing adaptations of the work). For more information, see our recent guest post on the Open Science blog.
  • Plan how you can include materials created by others in your work, particularly if you are making your work open access. If, for example, your article, thesis or book includes images or any other content created by others, you will need to consider whether and how you can include it – usually permission or a licence is required for inclusion in open access works, but it’s also helpful to be aware of what you can do by relying on copyright exceptions.

All of the above are part of good habits in academic writing. They help remove barriers to publishing, protect your author rights and support open dissemination of your work. The copyright team can support you in different ways:

Pink textbox. Text says: 'Join a training session and links to https://library-calendars.ucl.ac.uk/calendar/libraryskillsUCL/?cid=-1&t=g&d=0000-00-00&cal=-1&ct=32648&inc=0

  • Our training sessions include copyright for postgraduate students, copyright for research staff, an introduction to open licences and a more specialised session on publishing agreements. There is still time to register for November/December sessions, and dates for term 2 will be advertised soon. If the dates don’t suit you, contact copyright@ucl.ac.uk to arrange a bespoke session.
  • If you have a specific question, including the terms and conditions of your publishing agreement, you can book an appointment to discuss. Appointments are available both online and in person.
  • UKRI and JISC have published two very useful guides. Managing third-party copyright for research publications (UKRI, Clare Painter Associates) provides invaluable advice for authors who publish open access monographs and book chapters. Publishing under the UKRI open access policy: copyright and Creative Commons licences includes guidance that is useful for anyone, whether they are currently funded by UKRI or not. Our upcoming sessions discuss this guidance in more detail.

 

 

 

 

 

Breathing new life into obsolete journals: a collaborative digitisation/open access project

By Christina Daouti, on 18 October 2023

Front cover of the UCL journal 'Wepwawet', showing the title, an image of Wepwawet depicted as a wolf, and the details: 'Volume 1, 1985, University College London). Red sticker at the bottom saying' 'not to be removed from the Library'.Guest post by Dr Katie Meheux, UCL Institute of Archaeology Librarian

Working collaboratively with colleagues in LCCOS and the wider Egyptology community has enabled us to make ‘Wepwawet: Research Papers in Egyptology’ available as open access through UCL Discovery, UCL’s open access repository.

Each year, thousands of academic journals publish innovative and exciting research. Some of these journals endure for decades; others rapidly become obsolete. They languish on library shelves, their contents forgotten.  The journal ‘Wepwawet: Research Papers in Egyptology’ (volumes 1-3, 1985-1987), produced and edited by PhD students from the former UCL Department of Egyptology, was one of these publications.

The project

In summer 2023, I came across ‘Wepwawet’ on our library shelves. I’ve been working to digitise the Institute of Archaeology’s historical journals, raising funds to make the ‘Annual Report’ and ‘Bulletin’ available as open access. Wepwawet looked like another good candidate. Volumes were short, highlighted UCL’s long history of contributions to Egyptology (the study of Ancient Egypt) and contained research that is valuable to Egyptology scholars around the world.

My first step was to find a copy of the missing second volume. Contacts in the wider Egyptology community helped me out: I borrowed and scanned the missing volume from the British Museum Library. With advice from Christine Daouti, UCL’s Copyright Support Officer, I then approached the former editors of the journal, Mark Collier, and Mariam Kamish, who shared the copyright with UCL. Both Mark and Mariam were supportive of the project and immediately gave permission to digitise. With their agreement, the scanned contents of the journal were added to UCL Discovery the same day and are now available online with a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY).

The outcome: from the shelf to the world

The project to digitise ‘Wepwawet’ demonstrates how co-operative, pro-active initiatives within communities of practice can breathe new life into forgotten journals, and can be quick, easy, and low cost, but with high returns.

Making a digital copy of the journal open access supports its preservation, makes it discoverable and ensures that scholars – including native Egyptian scholars seeking to interpret their own past – can access, read and cite this research. A Creative Commons licence (CC BY) makes it possible for others to share and build upon this work, while attributing the original creators.

Thanks to all involved!

Creative commons logo, displaying CC in an inner circle and the words 'some rights reserved' and 'creativecommons.org' in an outer circle.

Creative Commons sticker logo. Source: https://creativecommons.org/about/downloads/. Used under the Creative Commons Trademark Policy: https://creativecommons.org/policies#trademark

 

To learn more about Creative Commons licences, drop-in any time between 12 and 2 pm on Teams on Tuesday 24 October.

Your copyright resources, October 2023

By Christina Daouti, on 9 October 2023

We hope you are settling well into the new academic year.

The copyright mailbox is always buzzing at the start of term. As ever, the questions we receive are varied and often fascinating. From using copies of old paintings in exhibitions to playing computer games in neuroscience experiements to tracing rights owners for films, and from negotating publishing agreements to licensing research data to establishing good practice in collaborative projects, the questions we address reflect the diverse research, teaching and creative activities that take place at UCL. More often than not, simple queries open up broader discussions. What is the place of copyright in the creative process? What aspects of copyright can be used to open up knowledge? Where does copyright sit in the broader context of research integrity?

Copyright – the exclusive right to copy, share and reuse a creative work -is a large part of pretty much every UCL activity. Books and articles, dissertations and presentation slides, teaching resources and websites, social media posts and computer programmes, images, film, photos and datasets may all be protected by copyright. Understanding what this means both when you use others’ works and creating your own can help you make decisions that benefit your research, your learning and your teaching.

We are starting the year with quite a few new copyright resources, suitable for those new to copyright and those who would like more specific advice.

Getting started 

Yellow text box. Text says: Rate your copyright confidence' and links to https://ucl-global.libwizard.com/f/copyright_questionnaire_UCL

Yellow text box. Text says: Rate your copyright confidence' and links to https://ucl-global.libwizard.com/f/copyright_questionnaire_UCLYellow text box. Text says: Rate your copyright confidence' and links to https://ucl-global.libwizard.com/f/copyright_questionnaire_UCL

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

You can:

  • Complete a 2-minute questionnaire to rate your copyright confidence and tell the UCL copyright support service what resources you need.
  • Complete an introductory 20-minute tutorial at your own pace, online. An opportunity to learn – or revisit – the basics, including works covered by copyright, permissions, ‘fair dealing’ and licences.
  • Join us for a training session, online or face-to-face. Current sessions run for postgrdauate students, researchers and teaching staff. There are also sessions on specific topics (open licences, publishing agreements). If you are not able to make a session or would like advice on a different topic, please contact us to arrange one for your department or research group.

Further resources

Further support

  • If you have a specific question, please email copyright@ucl.ac.uk.
  • You can also book an appointment (online or face-to-face) via the copyright booking service.
  • Subscribe to this blog for updates and topical discussions, including ones on copyright for AI-generated works.

 

Six key facts about the CLA licence

By Christina Daouti, on 13 September 2023

The Copyright Licensing Agency (CLA) licence for photocopying, scanning and digital re-use is a bit of a mouthful.  It is also one of the main means to stay within the law when re-using copyright-protected materials, particularly in teaching.

A CLA poster is displayed next to MFDs at every UCL library site and in departments. This is expected by the CLA and helps you know what you are allowed to do under the terms of the licence. Below are six main points about the licence.

  1. The CLA is a not-for-profit company that distributes its revenue to authors, publishers and visual artists via royalty-collecting organisations.
  2. Like many other Universities, UCL pays an annual subscription to the CLA. The library also takes part in consultations that inform negotiations with the agency, to ensure that the licence meets the needs of the academic community.
  3.  Works covered by the licence mainly include books and journal publications published in the UK. Many overseas publications are also included. Not everything is covered: which countries and publications are covered and what is allowed in every case varie; particularly when it comes to scanning. For a work to be covered, UCL must own a copy or subscribe to the publication.
  4. There are limits to how much can be copied. Currently these are: up to one chapter from a book, one whole article from a journal issue or 10% of the book or journal issue; whichever is the greatest. The CLA guidance on the poster specifies limits for other types of materials.
  5. Any member of staff or student at UCL can copy under the terms of the licence. However, for copies made for students on a particular course, there are additional storage and reporting requirements: designated members of staff do the scanning and ensure the requirements are met. If you want to use a resource in your course readings, you are advised to add it to your reading list, specifying which extracts you wish to digitise. The TLS team checks what is permitted and, where possible, digitises the resource under the terms of the licence. More information can be found on the Course Readings webpage.
  6. You have other options, too.
    Creative commons logo, displaying CC in an inner circle and the words 'some rights reserved' and 'creativecommons.org' in an outer circle.

    Creative Commons sticker logo. Source: https://creativecommons.org/about/downloads/. Used under the Creative Commons Trademark Policy: https://creativecommons.org/policies#trademark

    There is a growing number of resources that do not require digitisation.  A wide range of  electronic resources is available to UCL staff and students, including journal articles and e-books – lecturers can provide links to their students. You can also benefit from exceptions in copyright law, which allow you to copy and share reasonable extracts from materials, without the need for permission, as long as the use is ‘fair dealing‘.

And, of course, there is the ever-growing body of open access resources, including those held in UCL Discovery or published by UCL Press. If a resource is licensed under a Creative Commons licence it can be used without permission, as long as the terms of the licence are met.

Further advice

Fair dealing Week 2023, part 2: three ‘fair dealing’ exceptions

By Christina Daouti, on 24 February 2023

Our previous post opened Fair Dealing Week (20-24 February 2023) with a general overview of what ‘fair’ means in the context of ‘fair dealing’. We close the week with a post on three copyright exceptions in the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988 (CDPA) that are most relevant to studying, teaching and research. You can rely on these exceptions to copy and use materials without permission, as long as your use is ‘fair’.

Three key copyright exceptions

Image credits: 1. Image by tulyawat01 on Freepik 2. Image by rawpixel.com on Freepik; 3. Copyright UCL Creative Media Services

Research and private study. You may be able to copy (e.g. photocopy, download, scan) limited extracts from books, journal issues and other documents; or images related to your study; for non-commercial purposes (section 29, CDPA).

Quotation. You may include in your work extracts from books, journal articles and other works already made available to the public, if the purpose and the context justify it. You should only use as much as you need for your purpose (section 30, CDPA). Including whole works may be justified, but some caution is advised when including images.

Illustration for instruction. You may rely on this exception to include text, images, film and music in your lectures (e.g. slides, recordings), in exam papers and, if you are a student, in coursework, theses submitted for examination and class presentations. The use must be non-commercial (section 32, CDPA).

How do you apply ‘fair dealing’ to these exceptions?

Notebook and pen with empty checklist lying on a desk

Image by Freepik

We discussed ‘fair dealing’ in our previous post. If you decide to on an exception, the following acronym may help you remember what to consider:

Credit where credit is due

Damaging the (commercial and other) interests of copyright holder? Don’t use!

Purpose

Amount used

As ‘fair dealing’ is a matter of intepretation and risk assessment, you may also want to contact the UCL copyright team for advice, or refer to our resources.

UCL copyright resources

Fair Dealing Week 2023, part 1: how ‘fair and honest’ are you?

By Christina Daouti, on 19 February 2023

Fair Dealing Week (20-24 February 2023) is an annual opportunity to discuss and promote how copyright exceptions can be applied, in a thoughtful and fair-minded way, to use materials without permission from the copyright holder. This is the second Fair Dealing Week marked in the UK, having originated as ‘Fair Use’ week in the US and expanded to countries with similar doctrines last year. You may be interested in some events happening this week.

But what are these copyright exceptions, and what is ‘fair dealing’?

In the UK, you may be able to use materials without permission, for specific purposes. These ‘permitted uses’ are defined in UK copyright law and include research, private study and education.  We will be discussing these in more detail in part 2.

The general principle is that you may be able to use others’ materials in an academic or research context; for example, in an essay, dissertation, lecture, or examination, without permission, as long as the use is ‘fair dealing’. Importantly,  ‘fair dealing ‘ itself  does not have a statutory definition, and this is where you would need to apply your own judgement. As stated in the UK government’s guidance:

“The question to ask is:

how would a fair-minded and honest person deal with the work?”

If this sounds too vague, there are, in fact, certain criteria that have been identified by the courts. You would need to think, not just about what you think is fair and reasonable, but also what would be likely to be accepted as ‘fair dealing’ in court. In general, there are three important points to think about:

  • Use only the amount that is fair and reasonable in the circumstances. One typical example is reproducing too long a quote, when you may need a smaller extract of a work to discuss a point or illustrate an example in class.
  • Would your use have an impact on the commercial – and other – interests of the copyright holder? For example, copying and sharing a whole textbook would certainly affect the market.
  • Fully acknowledge the source. This is essential but, of course, not adequate on its own to justify copying a work.

In the next post, we will discuss how fair dealing can be applied in specific copyright exceptions. In the meantime, it might also be helpful to think of fair-mindedness and honesty in a broader sense. Start the week by taking our quick poll. This is for fun only; we don’t ask for personal information and we will not be using your responses.

 

 

 

Has your work been shared without your permission? Five things you can do

By Christina Daouti, on 1 February 2023

Two cartoon characters talking:- Look at this thing I made (showing an object) - Wow, that;s great...( can't wait to share it with my friends (yanks object out of the first character's hands) - My NAME is on it! (c=unhappy character protests) - That's OK! It will come off (rubbing off the name) Later we see the second character showing the object to other characters, who say: 'Wow, that's great'. Responds: 'thanks', while the first character is in the background, looking unhappy.

Copyright 2014 The Awkward Yeti, theawkwardyeti.com. Reproduced based on blanket permission, which can be found on https://theawkwardyeti.com/2020-about/.

In this blog we often highlight the importance of respecting others’ legal and moral rights when using copyrighted materials.

We tend to speak less often about copyright infringement affecting you as an author. Yet this is clearly as important.  It is increasingly the case, for example, that students make teaching resources  – including lecture slides, handouts and test questions but also, in some cases, unpublished articles, research data and code – publicly available online. This is done without the lecturer’s permission.

In an online environment, students may have a genuine desire to share resources with others. Many are also encouraged to be upload their lecture notes (although they also include their lecturers’ materials) on online platforms, in exchange for access to other resources or even for payment. As a result, materials meant to support students on a specific course but not to be shared without further quality control are made available, risking the lecturer’s or University’s reputation and even compromising publication and commercialisation opportunities.

If you find your teaching materials have already been shared, or if you are concerned that they might appear online without your consent, here are some things you can do:

  1. Know your rights. The default position at UCL is that copyright to your teaching materials belongs to you. Be aware of this fact and if necessary assert your rights, letting others know that sharing is not allowed without your permission.
  2. Mark your work as copyright. Although this is not necessary for copyright to be protected, it is helpful for you and for others to know who the copyright owner is and that the work should not be copied or shared unless explicitly permitted (i.e. for the purposes of the course).
  3. Take down materials. The first point of call should be the student; explain to them that the material was unlawfully uploaded and kindly ask them to have it removed. If this is not possible, most platforms have take down request forms they require you to use. The UCL copyright team can also provide wording if necessary.
  4. Educate your students. It is most likely lack of awareness that makes others infringe copyright. The copyright team is preparing communications to increase the understanding of copyright issues. You can contribute to this effort: you may want to explain to them the consequences of sharing materials unlawfully and where possible, make this awareness part of your teaching. You can also encourage them to complete the online Copyright Essentials module, a short introductory resource.

5. Make your materials open – in your own terms. In some cases where you feel your materials can be shared more widely, you may find it appropriate to license them so that others can reuse them, while you retain copyright, get attributed, and specify the terms of reuse. Creative Commons Licences are the best way to do this. You can specify, for example, whether others can adapt the materials – a great benefit of open educational resources – and whether or not they can be reused commercially.

For more information and support on copyright, we run sessions on copyright for research, teaching, publishing contracts and Creative Commons licences. See  our current programme or contact us to arrange a bespoke session.

A new online copyright module, upcoming sessions, and on-demand training

By Christina Daouti, on 21 December 2022

New copyright module launched

The UCL copyright support team is proud to launch Copyright Essentials: a Wilkins building, UCL. 'Copyright Essentials' against blue background.new online module introducing key copyright concepts and encouraging learners to approach copyright questions in a critical way. The module is suitable for anyone interested in copyright, including undergraduate and postgraduate students.

Here are a few reasons to complete the module and to recommend it to others:

  • You will learn through quizzes, fun facts, scenarios and short videos. If you like Star Wars, you may have even more fun.
  • You will learn at your own pace. The module should take around 20 minutes to complete in one go, but you can revisit it any time and pick up where you left off.
  • At the end you can get a certificate of completion, to display your new copyright knowledge.
  • Throughout the course, you will be encouraged to approach copyright-related decisions in a critical way. In fact, you will need to reflect on the course itself, and decide whether the authors are copyright criminals.
  • Finally, you will be encouraged to apply your new knowledge in your work; and hopefully you will feel more confident when using others’ materials and creating your own.

And here are a few more reasons to be proud of this module:

The module promotes the use of open resources and licences. Understanding how open licences work helps overcome most copyright restrictions, while still respecting authors’ rights.

The module itself is an open educational resource. It is available to anyone with an Internet connection; and shared under a Creative Commons Attribution Share-Alike licence. Please feel free to distribute it, adapt it and reuse it in any way specified by the licence, as long as you attribute the original.

In fact, we encourage adaptations. We would like to see the module adopted and improved to support copyright literacy further. The first version of this module was authored by Nicola Avery and Christine Daoutis in 2019 at the University of Surrey, and included materials co-created with undergraduate students. While the current version does not include these materials for data protection reasons, we are keen to see others, including students, make adaptations to the course.

Finally, in the words of the great Obi-Wan Kenobi, “Many of the truths that we cling to depend on our viewpoint”. We hope that the module conveys the idea that thinking around copyright involves being comfortable with ambiguity and risk, rather than absolute answers. Our approach was informed and inspired by the work of Jane Secker and Chris Morrison on critical copyright literacy (e.g., Secker et al., 2019); we very much hope this module contributes towards this critical approach.

 Training sessions

For more in-depth copyright training, we run training sessions (both online and in-person) for UCL staff and students. Please see our current programme, which includes copyright for research, PGRs and teaching, and more specialised sessions on open licences and publishing contracts.

We also welcome your own suggestions. We have delivered/are planning bespoke sessions on various topics, including the NHS copyright licence, copyright for images, and copyright for creative works. Please contact copyright@ucl.ac.uk to arrange a session for your School.

 

 

 

This Academic Writing Month, think of your rights as authors

By Christina Daouti, on 7 November 2022

November is Academic Writing Month: an annual event giving you the opportunity to set some writing goals and put time aside to meet them, while sharing progress and writing tips with others. Whether you are an academic researcher, a postgraduate research student or in any other role involving academic writing, we hope that your writing is going well and that your research article, thesis draft, book chapter, monograph or conference paper gets a bit closer to being completed.

Completion, of course, is just the beginning. Take journal articles, for example: imagine that happy moment when you click on ‘Submit’ on a publisher’s platform. Even better, imagine the moment you receive the acceptance email confirming that your paper will be published, after weeks or months of waiting, responding to reviewers’ comments, editing and resubmitting. Publication will be your reward for all these writing efforts, and for a moment it feels like there’s nothing else to think about other than your next publication.

photo of contract and pen

This image is in the public domain.

Except there is still something important to think about. On acceptance, you are asked to sign a publisher agreement. Unless you are publishing the paper open access, what you are asked to sign is usually either a copyright transfer agreement where you assign your copyright to the publisher, or an exclusive licence where you keep copyright but still need permission from the  publisher to reuse your own paper. As you normally need to sign the agreement quickly to avoid publication delays, there is little opportunity to read the terms and conditions carefully, let alone to question or negotiate them, particularly if the licence is a click-through document.

Most of us have done this – I certainly have: in the excitement and relief of getting a paper article accepted, we sign away our rights to the paper, often limiting its potential to be accessed, read, and cited. And while sometimes a standard agreement allows us to keep some rights – including the right to reuse the article in our own teaching, or to republish in a collection –  these are not guaranteed and are often restrictive; like the right to share the article online but only 12-24 months after publication. There are good reasons why cOAlition S funders, including UKRI and the Wellcome Trust, require their funded researchers to retain their rights to their publications and share them with the most permissive Creative Commons Licence. But regardless of your funder, being aware of what you are giving away in a publisher agreement and trying to keep some rights is beneficial both for you as a researcher and for the audiences you want to reach.

Three things you can do about your rights

  1. In-between writing sprees this November, take this short quiz about your rights as author. What do you stand to lose if you sign the publisher agreement without reading it? Discover some simple things you can’t do after signing a standard agreement.
  2. Next time you are presented with an agreement to sign, take a moment to read it through. Are you keeping enough rights to share your knowledge as you want to?
  3. Come along to one of our sessions on Copyright and your publishing contracts. You can bring a contract to discuss. The next session is in person on 7 December 2022, but we also run sessions online and on demand. Please contact us at copyright@ucl.ac.uk for advice or to arrange a session.