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The University of Manitoba campuses are located on original lands of Anishinaabeg, Cree, Oji-Cree, Dakota, and Dene peoples, and on the homeland of the Métis Nation. More

Research Services - Author Rights: Home

This guide is intended to inform University of Manitoba researchers on the topic of author rights and publication agreements and provide links to university-related services.




Publication options are quite diverse today and expand beyond publishing through an established publisher to include deposit in a repository (also known as self-archiving) or self-publishing using vehicles such as a personal website or social media. When you publish your article with a publisher, you enter into an agreement with that publisher. The conditions of the agreement will vary and it’s important to understand what rights you are retaining and which ones you are revoking. Any agreement must accommodate obligations such as those stipulated by funders that may be in place on your research dissemination before publication occurs. 

For example, most funders, including the Canadian funder Tri-Agency (CIHR/NSERC/SSHRC), demand deposit in an open repository. This obligation may be qualified by an identified time period. You may or may not maintain these rights to self-publish and/or deposit depending on the agreement you sign. As part of research data management best practices, a data management plan asks you to consider any such funder and related publication restrictions before research begins and explicitly identify all publication/dissemination options that would be in compliance with those restrictions.

Disclaimer - This guide is intended for informational purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. 

Publisher Agreements

To make an informed decision about submitting to a journal, and whether its policies correspond to your rights considerations, you need to look up the journal's policy.  

  1. SHERPA/ROMEO database - contains copyright policies related to self-archiving; provides links to copyright policies on the publishers' websites. 
  2. Publisher's website contains the most extensive information. Sometimes it can be difficult to find; the information may be found in one or a few locations under any of these headings on either/both of the journal or publisher’s website: author information; copyright; permissions; author guidelines; open access; instructions for authors. See the UML Author Rights Guide for a short list of links to publisher's policies (some of which contain sample agreements).

Negotiating Agreements

IIdeally, before submitting your manuscript to a publisher, you have assessed which journal with its publishing options (if there is more than one available) most meets your needs. Whatever option you have chosen, it is essential you review the publisher agreement. As an author, you always have the option to negotiate; the University of Arizona's brief guide of negotiation pointers and  SPARC's author addendum template are resources you can add/use to assist in your negotiation.

See the UML Author Rights Guide for examples of sample addendums, including from the Tri-Agency.

For negotiating book contracts, see: UNDERSTANDING AND NEGOTIATING BOOK PUBLICATION CONTRACTS. Edited by Brianna L Schofield and Robert K Walker, Authors Alliance , Authors Alliance, Oct. 2018,

Key Publishing Terms and Definitions

Manuscript Versions throughout Publishing Lifecycle

Publishers will assign different rights for different versions of your article. The Article Sharing handout is a nice visual description of the distinctions between the different versions. Most recently publishers are offering different creative commons license options to define author and/or user rights as part of an agreement. For the table of version terminology with their definitions and an infographic describing CC licensing options, see the UML Author Rights Guide.

Assigning v. Licensing Rights

In the presentation Essentials of a Publication Agreement, slides 23-29 explains the Intellectual Property rights a publisher needs, and the context of assign versus licensing in an agreement.

Assigning is the transfer of some or all of your rights to another party (e.g. a publisher). This assignment can last for the entire term of the copyright or for a specified period of time. The terms copyright transfer agreement or copyright assignment agreement mean the same thing as assignment. For more information on transference of rights, see

Licensing gives permission to another party to use your work under certain conditions while you retain ownership of your copyright and related rights.This can also work in the reverse; in many publishing agreements, you will transfer copyright to the publisher but the publisher will license certain rights back to you.