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Stevenson Scholar Exchange: Copyright

Information about Stevenson University's institutional repository

Why does copyright matter?

Copyright is hugely important because it protects you from other people who may try to reuse, adapt, or sell your work without getting the proper authorization or paying royalty fees.  However, it works both ways:  Stevenson University and our IR must also abide by any copyrights that govern the publication of your work.

You can go ahead and upload these documents ...

Here are some situations where it's probably fine to go ahead and upload your work:

  • You are the only author and have never published the work before.
  • The work is all your own original creation.
  • The work has properly-cited references and outside sources.
  • You sampled or remixed someone else's work in your publication, but with proper permission.
  • You sampled or remixed someone else's work, which was produced under a Creative Commons license, and properly attributed it.

... but think twice about these

Here are some situations where you might need to do a little investigation before uploading the document:

  • The work was published and is currently under embargo.
  • The work was published and you didn't retain the copyright.
  • The work was published and you are not sure if you retained the copyright.
  • You are a co-author and haven't talked to your other co-authors about submitting the work.


Copyright Notice

Before you upload anything to Stevenson Scholar Exchange, you must hold the rights or have received permission from the copyright holder.  This includes permission to quote, remix, sample, or reinterpret content that is currently under copyright.  It is your responsibility to verify that you have the right to upload the item to Stevenson Scholar Exchange, and you accept the responsibility for any violation of those rights.

I wrote something and had it published. How do I find out if I have the rights to upload it?

Check the license agreement that you signed with the publisher.  There should be a section that discusses the rights you retained.  It may say something about having the right to "self-archive" on your own website, your institution's website, or your institution's repository.

You may also have negotiated to retain your copyright even though it wasn't part of the original agreement.  In this case, the publisher should have signed or sent you a written addendum to the publishing agreement that explicitly lists your rights.

If you self-published with a service like Amazon, you would hold the rights to your own work.

If you are not sure about the copyright status of your work, please contact a librarian and we will be happy to help you figure out whether the piece can go in Stevenson Scholar Exchange.

I wrote something and had it published, but didn't retain my copyright. Is there any way it can still be added?

Legally, we cannot upload a piece of work if you do not hold the copyright.  However, we can create an entry in Stevenson Scholar Exchange and include a link to the publisher's website, so that readers can find and purchase the work.  This may be especially helpful if you've published fiction, which in most cases cannot be hosted in its entirety on your (or any) website.

We want Stevenson Scholar Exchange to bring together as many publications from as many community members as possible, so even if we can't upload a copy, we still want to celebrate your work.

I wrote something and had it published, but didn't retain my copyright. How can I do that in the future?

In the future, you may be able to negotiate the right to retain your copyright and post a copy of your work on your website or in an online archive or repository.  Here are some tips and suggestions:

  • Read the publishing agreement carefully.  There may already be provisions for what you want to do.  Don't just sign on the line.
  • Respond to the publisher in writing with your request to retain your copyright.
  • Be specific.  If your research grant requires that you deposit a copy of your paper in a certain database, like PubMed, tell the publisher.  If you already have an archive or an IR in mind (including ours), let them know.  They may be more likely to see the value in that, rather than your personal website or a peer-to-peer network.
  • Use a boilerplate author addendum, such as the one from SPARC (linked below).
  • If you are traditionally publishing a creative work, especially a novel, you will probably not be able to retain archival rights in the same way as you can with an academic journal article.

I wrote something but have not published it externally. How do I find out if I have the rights to upload it?

You may have written something but never formally published it, such as:

  • A PowerPoint presentation or workshop content
  • A whitepaper
  • Working drafts
  • A piece of art
  • A class project or paper
  • A capstone project
  • A journal or log of your academic experiences (e.g., for an internship or clinical rotation)

In these cases, as long as you have never entered into a publishing agreement with any company or person, you have the rights to your work and may upload it to Stevenson Scholar Exchange.  If your piece has co-authors, make sure they also agree to you uploading the work.

Stevenson University