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ScholarWorks@UMBC

ScholarWorks@UMBC, a part of MD

What rights am I, as an author, giving to UMBC?

Whatever license option that you chose, when authors have submitted files, UMBC needs some rights to be granted by authors so that their works can be maintained in ScholarWorks@UMBC.

As an author, you never have to give another organization ALL of your copyrights for them to legally store and maintain your work. Recognizing that UMBC needs to have authors approve a minimum level of rights transfer, the agreement used by ScholarWorks@UMBC only asks for non-exclusive rights to keep the work, preserve it, and make it available on the Web. 

The agreement used by ScholarWorks@UMBC only asks for non-exclusive rights to keep the work, preserve it, and make it available on the web.  The term "non-exclusive" means that when you deposit a work in ScholarWorks@UMBC, you retain all of the copyrights to your work. You can sign agreements with other organizations granting them the rights you have retained or you can use and enforce those rights yourself.

Authors often have many questions about their copyrights for their works and how copyright issues affect their ability to deposit work in a repository. We recommend you read the ScholarWorks@UMBC license agreement at the end of this document.

When you submit a link and no files, you do not give UMBC any rights.

How are past or future agreements with other publishers affected by deposit into ScholarWorks@UMBC?

Author rights agreements are quite complex and vary tremendously from publisher to publisher. Some publishers ask authors to grant only very limited rights to their works, others ask for all rights for all time, and others fall somewhere between these extremes. 

We encourage authors to discuss their rights with publishers and to read any rights-transfer agreement carefully.  Many publishers' standard agreements allow deposit in institutional repositories or other open archives. If the standard agreement appears to preclude such sharing, consider asking!  Publishers are often willing to modify a standard agreement at an author's request.

  • If your work has already been published:

Work through the following steps until you've determined your rights:

  • Read the agreement you originally signed with your publisher.
  • Use the Sherpa-Romeo database to find journal and publisher self-archiving policies which indicate whether they allow an item to be submitted into a repository.
  • Look for information on the publisher’s website, usually in the 'information for authors' section.
  • Request a copy of your agreement from the publisher. Contact information is usually found on the journal's website.
  • If all else fails, you can request a copy of your agreement from the publisher. Information on contacting a journal publisher is usually easily located by checking the journal's Web site. 

If you signed an agreement giving all rights to the work to the publisher (retaining none for yourself), you can contact the publisher and request permission to deposit the work into ScholarWorks@UMBC. A sample letter requesting deposit rights is available. Many publishers are inclined to maintain goodwill in their relationships with authors and readily grant such rights.

  • If you want to publish a work that has already been added to ScholarWorks@UMBC

Including work in ScholarWorks@UMBC should not preclude future publication.

As an author, you may also decide to deposit a manuscript for an article or other work and then subsequently have an opportunity to publish the same work in a different venue. Authors should note that an issue exists only if it is the same work being published, i.e., the same manuscript. From a copyright standpoint, an article manuscript is a different work from the deposited conference paper from which it has been developed and reworked, even though many of the ideas discussed are the same. The ideas are not copyrighted, the form of their expression is. Just as making the conference presentation does not preclude later publication, depositing the text or slides of the conference paper does not preclude later publication unless the text presented as a new publication is identical to the earlier work.

Even if an author would like to submit a repository-deposited item for publication in a journal or elsewhere, it is quite possible that deposit in your university’s repository will not be a concern but this may depend on what type of license you’ve choose and if on a Creative Commons license, how often the item has been reproduced. Again, authors can discuss this issue with the particular publisher and should read any rights-transfer agreement carefully. Authors may not be aware that publishers often modify a standard agreement at an author's request. Many publishers' standard agreements allow deposit in institutional repositories or other open archives. If a publisher's standard agreement seems to preclude either prior or later deposit into a repository, an author may be able to add wording to the agreement recognizing the existing deposit or allowing a future deposit.

What are ScholarWorks@UMBC’s license options?

  • CC0: Under a CC0 license, you waive all copyrights to the material submitted. Use of this license might impede your ability to publish the work in the future. Note that Creative Commons licenses like this one are irrevocable.
  • Creative Commons: All Creative Commons licenses grant others the right to copy, distribute, and make some use of your work. You can choose to allow commercial use or not, and you may choose to allow modifications of your work or not. When choosing to allow modifications, you may choose ShareAlike which requires your work to only be re-used if the same license is applied to it. Use of this license might impede your ability to publish the work in the future. Note that Creative Commons licenses are irrevocable.
  • No Creative Commons License: You can choose to retain your copyright in full, and only grant UMBC the right to distribute through ScholarWorks@UMBC. This is appropriate for published materials where the publisher allows self-archiving. If you ever need to remove your work in the future, you only need to contact scholarworks-group@umbc.edu and we’ll take it down.
  • Public Domain Mark: A public domain mark is used when enough time has passed that the copyright on the work has expired. This is most often used by libraries submitting historic materials from their special collections.