Things to know about authors' rights

Depending on the publisher and journal, the exploitation rights granted to authors for their work vary. Most publishers now allow self-archiving of the so-called postprints or preprints on an institutional document server. Possibly, the authors are entitled to a simple right of use for the publication of the accepted manuscript version on the Internet after 12 months since the first publication within the framework of the second publication right (§ 38 para. 4 UrhG). Publishing of the published publisher's PDF is allowed by some publishers after a certain blocking period.
A comprehensive compilation of the copyright policies of major international publishers can be found in the following database:


Retaining author rights

Authors are advised to check the author contract with a commercial publisher before signing it to determine whether or not publication of the work on a document server is permitted.

When concluding new publishing contracts, there are various ways to contractually regulate an OA parallel publication:

  •     Authors delete certain wording in the contracts before signing them. Numerous authors now practice this procedure.
  •     Authors attach a so-called author addendum to the signed contract. This serves to secure their own rights for an OA publication.

Requesting publisher consent retrospectively

It is possible for authors to subsequently request permission from a publisher to publish published works on a document server.


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