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Institutional Repository Guide

A guide to the University of Alabama's Institutional Repository. What it is, the services provided, and how to use it.

Terms to Know

Article Processing Charge (APC): A fee charged to the author, institution, or funder to cover the cost of an article. This fee is in lieu of charging subscriptions to read the article.

Copyright: Copyright law protects creative works. Examples of types of works protected by copyright law include books, journal articles, websites, blogs, photographs, films, videos, audio & visual recordings, and software programs.

Within copyright you have five rights: the right to reproduce copies, make derivative works, distribute copies, and perform or display the work publicly. 

Embargo:  A period of time where the publication or dissemination of a work is delayed. An embargo period can last up to two years. 

Creative Commons Licenses A Creative Commons license can apply to all works that are protected by copyright law. With a Creative Commons license you can communicate to others how they can use your work while retaining full copyright of your work. 

Your Author Rights

You know what you write, but do you know your rights?

  • You own what you create. As the author of a work you are automatically the copyright holder. Copyright registration is not required.
  • You retain your copyright unless you transfer the copyright in a signed agreement, such as a journal publisher.
  • The copyright holder controls the work. 
  • Transferring copyright doesn't have to be "all or nothing."
  • Giving your copyright to a publisher could hinder your future uses of your work.

Publisher's Policies

Major publishers have standard copyright and archiving policies. If your publisher is not included in the list below, you can search SHERPA/RoMEO by journal or publisher, or consult the journal's website.

Transformative Agreements

What is a Transformative Agreement? 

A transformative agreement is a contract that tries to shift the payment from a library (or group of libraries) to a publisher.  In a nutshell, transformative agreements are a shift away from pay to read (subscription cost) toward pay to publish (article processing charge). In some cases, transformative agreements are a way for publishers to transition their traditional subscription journals to fully open access. 

Principles of transformative agreements usually include items related to copyright ownership and transparency:  

  • Copyright tends to be retained by the author and not transferred to the publisher. Many times, the publisher will require that the author(s) apply a Creative Commons license to the published article. 
  • Transparency is a characteristic of a transformative agreement and such agreements are typically made publicly available. 

Transformative agreements are usually described as "Read and Publish" or "Publish and Read". 

Read and Publish agreement is where a publisher receives es payment for reading and payment for publishing bundled into the same contract. This bundling brings payment for publishing into a contractual arrangement rather than being addressed by each individual author who is choosing to publish open access. These agreements redirect funds previously spent on a subscription cost to a publishing cost. 

Publish and Read agreement is an agreement in which the publisher receives payment only for publishing, and reading is included for no additional cost. 

For both agreements, the goal of libraries is to either reduce the cost to access the journals' content, or at least keep the contract cost-neutral to a traditional subscription cost. Open-access is also a key objective for negotiating transformative agreements.

Further Reading: