Conditions of publishers and funding bodies

Creative Commons Licenses

Conditions of publishers and funding bodies

When an author publishes his/her work by assigning the copyright to a publisher, he/she should carefully consider the conditions defined by the publisher. In fact, the publisher often restricts the author’s ability to redistribute his or her work as a post-print for a certain period, called an embargo, or does not accept publication if the work has been distributed elsewhere as a pre-print; recently, publisher ACS has introduced a new charge (ADC Article Development Charge) designed to authorize post-print distribution without an embargo.

A copyright transfer agreement  is considered valid even if concluded orally or tacitly, but in case of a dispute, the transfer of the rights must be proved through a written document. In the absence of written agreements, authors are therefore allowed to distribute their texts (in the form other than the Version of record) even without the publisher’s permission.

Until a few years ago, authors paid little attention to the details of the agreements signed with publishers, their interest in seeing their contributions published being prevalent in order to obtain without much question the requirements for career advancement, according to the dynamic summarized in the motto “Publish or perish”.

There is now a greater focus on assigned rights when setting contracts, in part due to a growing support the Open Science movement, which sees the dissemination of one’s work in open access as one of the essential elements in sharing and advancing science.

Sherpa/Romeo is a site that collects publishers’ conditions for the reuse of publications. The conditions for the published version (Version of Record), pre-print (Submitted Version), post-print (Author Accepted Version); are detailed the type of repository in which the content can be republished, embargo period, Creative Commons license, and some additional conditions are specified for each version.

In choosing the publication venue, the author must also pay attention to any constraints imposed by the funding body, which may have made it a condition that the post-print be published, immediately and without embargo, in a repository or denied the possibility of using grant funds to publish in hybrid journals.

The author who has no special obligations from the funding bodies may publish his or her Author Accepted Manuscript in the institutional repository with the embargo set by the publisher

On the other hand, the author who has obligations to the funding body may adopt the Rights retention strategy, notify the publisher that there is an obligation with the funding body, and publish his or her post-print or Author Accepted Manuscript without embargo always in the institutional repository.

Finally, the author who is unclear of the rights status can deposit a copy of the published version (which will remain unembargoed) in their institution’s institutional research repository, and, adhering to the Open Access policy, can allow the reader to directly request a copy of the file from them through the “Request a Copy” button. In this way, the author ensures the free circulation of his/her work without contravening his contractual obligations with the publisher.

Schermata da AIR Archivio istituzionale della ricerca con visualizzazione del bottone Richiedi una copia per la versione editoriale

Creative Commons Licenses

Digitally distributed works should always be distributed under a license that specifies how the reader can consult or reuse the content.

The most common licenses are the Creative Commons (CC). These are copyright licenses, which allow authors to communicate to their users how the work is (re)usable.

There are four conditions of use of the work, and each is marked with a graphic symbol:

cc by new white svg BY – attribuzione: è sempre presente

Cc-nc_white.svg NC – non commercial

cs_white SA – share alike: condividi allo stesso modo

nd   ND – non opere derivate

Combining these four clauses results in six possible licenses:

CC0 is the public domain license: it indicates a worldwide copyright waiver on the work. It is one of the licenses that can be associated with research data, for example.

Licenses come in three different forms:

Legal code – the actual license.

Commons deed – the simplified and abbreviated version (a kind of summary of the license but without legal value).

Digital code – html code that allows automatic reading by search engines.

The Creative Commons site provides authors with a tool for understanding which license to choose: License chooser. After identifying the one you want to apply to your work, the relevant logo should be inserted into your document.

CC licenses do not represent protection (or greater protection) for the work, which is protected by copyright law, but they do allow the author to make clear to users the rights of reuse.

More details: