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Copyright of author

Authors retain the copyright for all content stored on the MPG eDoc Server. The submission agreement grants the MPG eDoc server a non-exclusive right to expose and disseminate the work of a copyright holder. The draft of the license was provided by the MPI for Intellectual Property, Competition and Tax Law in Munich and will be available in next future.
Firstly and generally, submitting the content to eDoc does not prevent the author from re-using the content elsewhere. With signing the non-exclusive license for eDoc the copyright holder (the author resp. co-author) is free to re-use the content elsewhere, including formal publication in a book or journal.

Nevertheless, Journal publishers' approaches to self-archiving and open access still vary a lot and are in a state of flux due to the dynamics the open access movement has gained. If you are publishing with an Open Access journal (check Directory of Open Access Journals) you are free to deposit your material also on the eDoc Server. Furthermore, even for non-open-access journal the RoMEO Study has shown that about 42,50 % of the investigated publishers allow self-archiving in some format.
Please be aware that publishers' proposals for Copyright Transfer Agreement or License may not allow a publication of the preprint or postprint on an e-print server like eDoc. See the ZIM Briefing paper on this issue.

To avoid the infringement of copyright, please read following scenarios carefully:

Agreements with commercial and not-for-profit publishers and the consequences for submitting documents to eDoc

  • Submitting content to eDoc which has already been submitted or published by another publisher
    Depending on the contract signed, the author might need an explicit approval of the publisher respective rights holder to publish his content on eDoc.
    This might refer to the content (e.g. article) as well as to the abstract.
    Consequently, the contract has to be checked for the corresponding passage.

  • Submitting and/or publishing the content AFTER the submission to eDoc
    In case you want your content to be published by a publisher after having disseminated the content (or a former version of it) via eDoc, you might have to specify it in your accompanying letter to the publisher.
    Please indicate that you have granted a non-exclusive license to the MPG eDoc server for your work. Some publishers ask in their license or their Copyright Transfer Agreement the author to warrant that the content has not been published before. Depending on the publisher, this might include a publication on an institutional server as well.
    Note that this is a matter of editorial policy, not a requirement by copyright law!

  • Take care when signing future contracts with publishers!
    For future submissions to commercial or not-for-profit publishers, please be aware that signing an exclusive license or a full Copyright Transfer Agreement might narrow any further personal or scientific use. (What is the difference between a license and a copyright transfer agreement?)
    Point out on your submission that you will assign/have assigned a non-exclusive license to the MPG eDoc server. Before signing, have a look at the points stressed by the RoMEO project to be considered when signing a license:

    Know your rights!
    How can I self-archive and get my paper published?

Copyright Information (Collections/Databases)

  • Publishers' copyright policies & Self-Archiving (SHERPA, UK)
    Most comprehensive database, covers important publishers, but deals only with "default" license agreements, provides a quick overview whether self-archiving is allowed or not.
  • Academic Journal Policy Database (University of Cincinnati, USA)
    Available content is still rather limited
  • IPR helpdesk
    Gives information on official EU-documents, manuals, and contracts to intellectual property and more.

Further reading:

Mueller, Harald: Don't waste your words. Rights and Duties of a scientific author. Invited talk at the MPI for Physics of complex systems, 22nd of June 2004. (in German).
Presentation online available

Checklist for publisher agreements by the Surf Foundation
A recommendable overview of points to consider when making agreements with publishers. List of key issues as well as selected examples of publishing agreements by well-known publishers and Learned Societies.

RoMEO Project: Rights Metadata for Open Archiving
Particularly relevant are the deliverables and the overview of rights issues relating to self-archiving.

Bide, Mark: Open Archives and Intellectual Property: incompatible world views? A report for the Open Archives Forum (November 2002).
PDF online available

Willinsky, John: Copyright Contradictions in Scholarly Publishing. First Monday, volume 7, number 11 (November 2002). Online available

Read more about Open Access and the Max Planck Society
Read more about Open Access
Read more about Open Access and research impact

Last changed: 13 December 2004