Author Rights

When an author creates an original piece of work, copyright to that work is automatically assigned to the author.  In a scholarly context, this means that the author automatically has the right to distribute their work in a variety of ways such as having the ability to :

  • Make copies of the work for educational use, including class notes, study guides or electronic reserves
  • Use part of the work as a basis for a future publication
  • Send copies of the work to colleagues
  • Present the work at conference or meeting and give copies of the work to attendees
  • Use a different or extended version of the work for a future publication
  • Deposit the work in an institutional or funding agency repository
  • Post the work on a laboratory or institutional web site on a restricted network or publicly available network
  • Include the work in future derivative works, including a dissertation or thesis
  • Use the work in a compilation of works or collected works
  • Expand the work into a book form or book chapter 
    [Retain your rights - Bernard Becker Medical Library]

But when you, the author, work with a traditional publisher to distribute your work, they will likely ask you to sign away these rights. And these rights assigned to the publisher, you, the author, are required to ask the permission of the publisher before you can distribute your own work.

In order to help scholars and future scholars retain their author rights,  the SPARC Author Addedum was developed by SPARC, the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, as as with CARL for the Canadian version of the SPARC Author Addendum [pdf].

To use the SPARC/CARL Author Addendum:

  1. Complete the addendum at
  2. Print a copy of the addendum and attach it to your publishing agreement.
  3. Note in a cover letter to your publisher that you have included an addendum to the agreement.
  4. Mail the addendum with your publishing agreement and a cover letter to your publisher.

If you have any questions about retaining your copyright, please contact