When your journal article is accepted by a publisher, you will be asked to sign a publication agreement which will transfer some or all of the copyright in your work to the publisher. Do not just sign that agreement on the bottom line! Read what rights you are transferring, and consider negotiating to retain some rights to your work. For example, in many publication agreements, publishers will allow you upload a pre-print or post-print of an article to your personal website or an institutional repository, but not a PDF of the published final version.
How to Use the SPARC Addendum
One option for negotiating rights with a publisher to use the SPARC addendum. SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, has created a model addendum that modifies the publisher’s agreement to allow you to retain important rights to your article. With the SPARC addendum, you may make and distribute copies of your article for teaching and research, and you may post your article on your personal website and/or in an institutional repository. For details, see paragraph 4 of the addendum.
SPARC suggests you follow these steps to use the addendum:
Complete the addendum.
Print a copy of the addendum and attach it to your publishing agreement.
Note in a cover letter to your publisher that you have included an addendum to the agreement.
Mail the addendum with your publishing agreement and a cover letter to your publisher.
Once you have negotiated and signed your publication agreement, be sure to keep a copy of it so you will have documentation of what rights you have to reuse your work.
Paragraphs 4 and 5 of the addendum set out the right retained by the author and the publisher's commitment to provide the author with an electronic copy of the published article (emphasis added to highlight the author's rights).
4. Author’s Retention of Rights. Notwithstanding any terms in the Publication Agreement to the contrary, AUTHOR and PUBLISHER agree that in addition to any rights under copyright retained by Author in the Publication Agreement, Author retains: (i) the rights to reproduce, to distribute, to publicly perform, and to publicly display the Article in any medium for non-commercial purposes; (ii) the right to prepare derivative works from the Article; and (iii) the right to authorize others to make any non-commercial use of the Article so long as Author receives credit as author and the journal in which the Article has been published is cited as the source of first publication of the Article. For example, Author may make and distribute copies in the course of teaching and research and may post the Article on personal or institutional Web sites and in other open-access digital repositories.
5. Publisher's Additional Commitments. Publisher agrees to provide to Author within 14 days of first publication and at no charge an electronic copy of the published Article in a format, such as the Portable Document Format (.pdf), that preserves final page layout, formatting, and content. No technical restriction, such as security settings, will be imposed to prevent copying or printing of the document.