Ownership of academic publications

Ownership as the starting point

It is important to know who owns the copyright to an academic publication because this determines who can read and reuse your work, and from whom you must have permission to reuse materials in your academic publications. When you create an original work, that work is automatically copyright protected. No registration is necessary. Therefore, when creating academic material, such as peer-reviewed articles, conference proceedings, books, book chapters, etc., the copyright is owned by the TU Delft author(s).

Copyright owner of closed academic publications

When a publisher publishes your work, agreements are made regarding the transfer or retention of the copyright. In many cases, this means exploitation of the copyright passes into the hands of the publisher. As the author, you then retain the moral rights to your work. You can find all kinds of different types of transfers in publishing agreements. These agreements are legal documents and, in many instances, there is no proper balance between your interests as a scholar, the interests of your university and the commercial and other interests of the publisher.

The publishers of your work therefore always draw up contracts regarding the transfer or retention of your copyright. In a classic agreement, the full exploitation of the copyright is transferred to the publisher through what is known as the transfer of exclusive rights. Try to keep the publisher’s exploitation as limited as possible by negotiating well and making use of open licences. This is in line with the TU Delft Open Science policy. In this way, you are free to reuse your own work for educational and research purposes. As the author of the work, no matter what form of transfer you choose, you always retain the moral rights to your work as its creator.

Using the work of others? The copyrights to works created by other authors are either held by them or have been transferred to a publisher.

Copyright owner of open academic publications

Where open material is concerned, as its owner you can use a Creative Commons (CC) licence to set down how your work may be used. We call this form of publishing ‘open access’. The idea behind open access is to allow the unlimited sharing and reuse of publications. TU Delft is a firm supporter of open access as part of our Open Science programme. If you choose open access publishing you can retain your rights. You grant the publisher the right to publish your work on its publishing platform, but the work can be shared and read by everyone. In exchange for the open nature of your work, in many cases, you pay the publisher what is known as an article processing charge (APC).

If your article cannot be published in this way, you should upload to the TU Delft Repository a derivative work based on the publisher’s published version. This procedure is set down in the TU Delft Policy on Open Access Publishing. We refer to such a peer-reviewed version of your work as an author accepted manuscript (AAM). In terms of content, these versions hardly differ from the version that is ultimately published (the version of record). Use Sherpa Romeo to read publishers’ policies and to find options for publishing your author accepted manuscript.

Sherpa Romeo is an international database that contains the open access policies of publishers and the open access self-archiving policies of academic journals.

Yet another way of sharing your work as open material is to make use of You share, we take care !. This procedure is for short academic publications, i.e. works that are about 10,000 words long (the length of an academic article, a conference paper or a book chapter). You can share your work as open material in this manner regardless of the provisions of any contract you have concluded with a publisher. A condition is that publication cannot take place within six months of initial publication and that your work is uploaded to the TU Delft Repository. The Taverne Amendment grants you the personal right to publish your work at your sole request as the author of the work concerned

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