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Scholarly Communication: What rights do I have as the author?

The Scholarly Communications committee provides Bucknell’s faculty scholars with customized information, education, and guidance as well as the technical resources and support services needed throughout all steps of the scholarly communications process.


The authors of a copyrightable work are the first copyright holders.

As the copyright holder, you have 

  • The right to reproduce.
  • The right to make derivative works.
  • The right to distribute copies of a work.
  • The right to perform a work publicly.
  • The right to display a work publicly.

These rights can be signed away by transferring your copyright, often in exchange for payment or services. A copyright holder can also allow others to reproduce, distribute copies, make derivatives, perform, and display (or some combination thereof) through licenses. 

Authors usually sign a copyright transfer agreement when publishing their work in a journal, including most subscription-funded journals and some Gold OA journals where the author pays the publication costs. 

It is important to carefully read, review, and consider your publisher's contract before signing it. Often, it is a good idea to use an author’s addendum as part of the negotiation process, which will protect your right to reproduce and share your own work.