As a creator of original scholarly and creative materials, you have certain rights as to the ownership of your creations and how ownership of your creations can be assigned to others. The University of California has policies in place that determine the copyright ownership of works produced within the University.
While you are usually the owner of your research and scholarly output, there are times where you are asked to transfer some rights over to others. This most frequently happens in scholarly publishing. Typically, publishers have asked authors to transfer copyright of their work to the publishers, in the process placing a number of restrictions on how the author can then use that work in future teaching and research activities. Still, it is possible for authors to negotiate agreements where some rights are transferred to the publisher (such as first publication rights), while still retaining rights concerned with teaching, future research, professional activities, or depositing the work in an institutional repository (such as UC's eScholarship).
Perhaps the simplest way to retain ownership of your work is to publish your research in open access journals that feature little restrictions on your ownership of your materials. Another way to retain your copyright is to modify the publishing agreement used by the publisher. An example of an agreement modification that can be submitted to publishers during this process can be found on the SPARC website.
In addition, the Authors Alliance features a number of resources on understanding and negotiating publication contracts.
Please note that the information on this page is intended as general information, and should not be construed as legal advice. For legal questions regarding copyright and copyright law, please consult with an attorney.
If you'd like more information on managing your copyright, publisher agreements, open access in general, or other matters related to scholarly publishing, please schedule a consultation: