Rights and licences

When publishing an article or a book, authors usually transfer rights to publishers . However, when you publish Open Access, you retain the rights to your own work and choose an open licence for re-use.

​​​​​You can find more information on intellectual property rights and your right to your own work on the following website. ​​

Transferrin​g rights to publishers

It is common that authors transfer rights to publishers when they publish e.g. an article or a book. Authors retain the right to be named and credited in a way that does not insult them (moral rights). Authors who have renounced their rights must ask permission from the publisher to reuse their own material. Yet most publishing contracts grant authors some rights for reuse, e.g. the right to self-archive a version of an article in an open repository, or the right to use the article in a printed version of an author’s doctoral thesis. Information on what rights the author retains is found in the publishing contract or on the website of the publisher, often under headlines such as Authors guidelines, Permissions or Copyright.

Some publishers offer licensing agreements instead of transferring rights. Authors retain their rights, yet often in exclusive licensing agreements so many rights are transferred that it makes no real difference. Non-exclusive agreements often imply that authors retain more rights to their work.

Generally, in Open publication authors retain rights to their work through a special licence, while users have extended rights to copying, sharing, building upon, and making the work accessible. The most frequently used licence is a Creative Commons licence, a standardized set of open licences allowing different types of re-use.​

Transferring book rights

Concerning the publication of books, authors usually transfer their rights to the publisher. Authors have the right to royalties as long as the book is published and, for Norwegian books, compensation from Kopinor (an organization of publishers’ and authors’ associations)​ as long as copies from the book are being used in compendia.

Often in the case of books authors may get their rights back if the publication of the book is discontinued. This is indicated in the contract, or it may be possible to apply for later.​

Authorisation of rights

Once authors renounce their rights to a publisher the publication must be authorised, also by the authors, before it may be used. Often the contract or the website of the publisher contains information concerning what rights authors retain. If no such information exists, anyone who wants to use the publication must seek permission from the publisher.​

Articles in doctoral theses

In compilation theses articles must be authorised before publication of the printed version. Most publishers allow articles to be included in the printed version. If such permission has not been specified in a contract or online, the publisher must be contacted for permission.

Before depositing an electronic version of a thesis in Nord University’s open repository, Nord Open, articles must be authorised. Generally, publishers have specific guidelines concerning digital accessibility of articles. The University Library takes care of authorisation of all material deposited in Nord Open, and will place an embargo on theses in cases when the articles may not me made immediately available.

Here you will find information on how to make your doctoral thesis available in Nord Open.

Scholarly publications in open repositories/archives

Before making publications openly accessible in an open repository like Nord Open, it is necessary to establish publishers’ guidelines concerning self-archiving. The University Library takes care of authorisation. Publishers’ guidelines comprise information on which version of an article may be made openly accessible, if an embargo applies, and other requirements. Information on publishers’ guidelines for self-archiving may be found in the contract, on the publisher’s website or in the Sherpa/Romeo database (applies to articles only). Some journals have an embargo on one or more versions of articles. The most common is an embargo of 6, 12 or 24 months. Articles with an embargo may be registered in Nord Open but are not made openly accessible until the embargo expires.

Generally, it is necessary to contact the publisher to ask for permission for depositing books in an institutional repository. If the book is no longer for sale authors may be entitled to have their rights returned.W

If rights have not been transferred to a publisher or employer, authors own all rights to their publications. This applies to master’s theses, doctoral theses, reports, conference contributions, etc., which may be made openly accessible in open repositories with permission from authors. If there is no information on publishers’ guidelines for making publications openly accessible in open repositories, you can e-mail the publisher and ask for permission.​

Here you will find information on how to make articles available in Nord Open.​

Retaining rights to one’s own work

Why should researchers want to retain the rights to their own work?

  • They wish to reuse their own work
  • They wish to disseminate their own work
  • They wish that others may have the possibility to use their work​​

How can researchers retain rights to their own work when publishing?

By publishing Open Access with an open licence, authors may retain their rights and grant others extended rights for reuse. Open licences are also available for making accessible other types of materials like photos, illustrations, and teaching materials. By choosing an open license, researchers grant users extended rights for their material on certain conditions.​​

Creative Commons​​

The aim of Open Access publishing is to make scholarly publications openly accessible to everyone. Creative Commons licences are used because they provide an internationally established legal structure in accordance with this aim.

Creative Commons licensing does not replace copyright but is a set of licences copyright holders may use to allow certain types of use and re-use. All licences require the naming of the creator when using a licensed work.

Creative Commons has a useful list of the basic rules of each individual licence (see more in the box in the right-hand margin).​ Please note that authors usually retain copyright when they publish Open Access. If the publisher still requires that copyright is transferred and authors accept this, some of licence rules will not apply. 

Creative Commons BY

Nord University encourages authors to choose CC BY for their Open Access publications because:

  • The licence ensures that the publication remains open to the greatest possible extent for the common good of users and society at large
  • The licence places few restrictions on adaptation and ensure an extensive dissemination of research
  • The licence has become a ‘standard’ licence in Open Access publishing, and large Open Access publishers like Public Library of Science (PLOS) and BioMed Central use this licence. Large research funders like the Wellcome Trust also require the use of this licence.
  • The licence is in accordance with the ideal of Open Access as defined by the Budapest Open Access Initiative.

Although Nord University recommends using a CC BY licence, researchers are free to choose another, more restrictive Creative Commons licence. Please note that although more restrictive licences may prevent unwanted use, they may also limit what copyright holders perceive to be legitimate use.​

Creative Commons licences define rights for re-use

There are different types of Creative Commons licences:

  1. Attribution (BY): Summary, legal licence text

  2. Attribution-ShareAlike (BY-SA): Summary, legal licence text

  3. Attribution-NoDerivatives (BY-ND): Summary, legal licence text

  4. Attribution-NonCommercial (BY-NC): Summary, legal licence text

  5. Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike (BY-NC-SA): Summary, legal licence text

  6. Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (BY-NC-ND): Summary, legal licence text​