"You do not have to relinquish your copyright."

Prof.dr. Dirk Visser

Open access and copyright

Copyright always plays a role in open access publishing. In some cases you transfer your full copyright when you agree to the contract presented to you by your publisher and from that moment on the publisher determines what you and others may do with the publication.

Most publishers allow you to make the full text of your publication available on your personal web page. Deposition in your university’s repository is not usually permitted, or only under certain conditions.

Prof. Dirk Visser, Professor of Intellectual Property Law at Leiden, explains.

Retaining your copyright

Dutch universities have developed a model agreement that an academic author can use to retain part of his or her copyright. If your publisher accepts this agreement you can place the full text of your publication on your personal page and publish it in open access in your university repository. And if you wish to use your publication as material for your teaching, you do not need to request permission from your publisher. The publisher may ask you to observe a short embargo period of, say, six months.

Dutch copyright

Authors in the Netherlands retain by law the right to make public the text of their publication within ‘a reasonable period’. The organization of the Dutch universities, VSNU,is undertaking research in what this reasonable period can be. In order for you to retain this right, the publisher’s licence text must state that Dutch copyright law applies. You can also add an addendum to that effect in the licence text.

July 1 2015 an amendment (in Dutch) was added to the copyright law, thereby anchoring it still more firmly in Dutch law. Dirk Visser explains the background of the open access provision and what its introduction means.

The specific legal implications of the amendment are being looked into (medio 2017) on instigation of VSNU.

Creative Commons licences

Creative Commons (CC) licences aims to make creative works more freely available than is possible through traditional copyright. The idea is that works such as publications can be copied and distributed more easily or that others can elaborate on them. This can be hugely beneficial to knowledge. Creative Commons offers various free licences that copyright holders can use to regulate and control the use and distribution of their work. You can attach a CC licence to your individual publications.

Open access via repositories

University libraries offer you the option of submitting the full text of your publications for deposition in the repository. Library staff will check whether the version you supply may be accessed worldwide via the repository. They use the database Sherpa/Romeo for this purpose, which lists the possibilities for reusing publications.

The best way to ensure that the full text of your publication can be made available in open access is to supply a post-print or pre-print. In general, the publisher’s version cannot be used for this purpose.

Copyright Information Points

Most Dutch universities have set up a Copyright Information Point (AIP) to fully inform and advise academic authors about copyright in relation to open access. This service is usually attached to the university libraries. You can go to them with all your questions about copyright and open access. The AIP can also assist if you wish to retain the right to place your publication in open access, for example in the university repository.

SURF provides a dedicated website on copyrights.

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Dutch National website providing information for academics about the advantages of open access to publicly financed research

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