Author Rights

When you decide to publish an article in a peer-reviewed journal, you own the full copyrights to that article. If you publish in an open access journal, you retain your full copyrights. However, if you choose to publish in a traditional subscription access journal, you will be required to sign a form transferring some – or all – of your copyrights to that publisher. 

That doesn’t have to be the end of the story. When you sign a copyright transfer form, you can decide which rights you want to keep, and which you want to give away. Understanding the effect of fully exercising the rights you have as an author can help you make educated choices about the publishing outlets you choose to submit work to. SPARC provides a full set of resources to help you learn more about your rights as an author, and the tools that are available to help you effectively manage your copyrights.

SPARC Author Rights Brochure

Do you want to retain the right to post your article on your course website, or in your institution’s digital repository? Do you want to share copies of your articles with your colleagues or students?

These and other questions are heard more and more frequently on campuses. That’s why SPARC has developed Author Rights – an educational initiative that informs faculty across all disciplines about their copyrights, and how to use the SPARC Author Addendum to effectively manage your rights as a journal article author to ensure that your article can be accessed and used as broadly as possible.

United States:


The SPARC Author Addendum

The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that you can use to modify your copyright transfer agreements with non-open access journal publishers. It allows you to select which individual rights out of the bundle of copyrights you want to keep, such as:

  • Distributing copies in the course of teaching and research,
  • Posting the article on a personal or institutional Web site, or
  • Creating derivative works.

The SPARC Author Addendum can be downloaded, or filled out online.

View the US SPARC Author Addendum

Download the US SPARC Author Addendum (PDF)

Download the Canadian SPARC Author Addendum in English (PDF)

Download the Canadian SPARC Author Addendum in French (PDF)

Complete the SPARC Author Addendum Online

Enter basic information about your article and generate a printable addendum to your publishing agreement in one easy step. Produced in partnership by SPARC and Creative Common’s Science Commons project, the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine features an updated version of the SPARC Author Addendum.

Complete the SPARC Author Addendum Online (US Only)

Enable authors to complete addenda online through your Web site

Building on Author’s Rights: Campus Open Access Policies.

The Internet has brought unparalleled opportunities for expanding the availability of research by bringing down economic and physical barriers to sharing. To take advantage of these opportunities and to further their mission of creating, preserving, and disseminating knowledge, many academic institutions are taking steps to capture the benefits of Open Access by building digital repositories to distribute faculty scholarly articles and other research outputs. Learn more...

Open Licenses

Open licenses are a crucial tool for authors to use to manage their rights in the open access environment.  In particular,  Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates, and provide a simple, standardized way to grant copyright permissions to works – including journal articles.

Learn more about these important licenses here.

Other Important SPARC Authors Rights Resources

April 1, 2008
OPEN DOORS AND OPEN MINDS: What faculty authors can do to ensure open access to their work through their institution - A SPARC/Science Commons white paper

February 3, 2008
Complying with the NIH Public Access Policy - Copyright Considerations and Options - A SPARC/Science Commons/ARL joint white paper