When publishing your research results, you have to consider copyright law.
Publishers might ask you to transfer your copyright or will ask fees when you want to use copyrighted material in your work. On this page you will find information about how to act when you are approached by publishers or organisations like the Copyright Clearance Center or Rightslink and how to consider copyright law when you are about to publish your research results.
During a paper submission process, the publisher may ask you to transfer your copyrights to them. This is a common request. However, copyright transfer is not always justified. If you have questions about the forms you have to fill in, please contact either the Copyright Information Point through the contact button or the legal officers of your Science Group.
If you intend to publish research that is financed by calls as of January 2021 from funders that implemented Plan S, please make sure that you comply with their regulations. If you publish your article in a subscription journal, you may need to comply with their Rights Retention Strategy. You are allowed to negotiate about retaining copyright or the right to use your work for further research and educational purposes as well as the right to publish the paper later as a chapter in your PhD thesis. You can use the model contract developed by the Dutch Universities.
Submitting these forms means that you have concluded an agreement with the publisher. In the agreement, you give the publisher permission to publish the article under the conditions stated in the form. How you should complete the form largely depends on the agreements that have been made regarding the publication of your work, for example in a research agreement with a client or a in PhD contract.
In general, copyright on a publication written by a WUR employee as part of his or her normal work activities belongs to WUR. If you need to list who owns the publication resulting from research at WUR, write the following: “I am an author and contributed to this article in the course of my employment. My employer is an owner of the publication and holds all or some of the copyright”. Remember that Wageningen University is a “non-US / non-UK government entity” and Stichting Wageningen Research is a “private” or “non-government” entity.
The legal department of your science group can help you with filling in the publisher agreements. They can also help you to choose the most suitable Creative Commons-licence for your publication, when applicable.
What should I do when I am asked to pay for the use of Copyrighted materials by organisations like Copyright Clearance Center (CCC)/RightsLink?
What should I do when Copyright Clearance Center or someone else asks permission to use copyrighted materials of WUR authors?
I am asked to publish my article Open Access by using the Taverne Amendment. What is it and how does it work?
The Taverne Amendment is laid down in article 25fa of the Dutch Copyright Act. This provision allows researchers to share short scientific works (e.g. scientific articles, book chapters in an edited collection or a conference publications) within a reasonable period after the first (online) publication, regardless of any restrictive publisher’s guidelines, but with a reference to the source of the first publication of the work. Thus the provision provides an easy way of sharing your initially closed work quickly. This means your work could be available sooner to a broad audience, potentially increasing its impact. Making your work available under the Taverne Amendment may also be a simple way of meeting the requirements of a research funder. WUR has a standardized process for making your short scientific works available in the WUR repository. For this, you need to fulfil a few conditions for participation.
Information about the workflow can be found here, please scroll down to the last part of the webpage. You can fill in the online participation form and select your preference per publication. More Frequently Asked Questions regarding Taverne are answered on the bottom of this webpage.
WUR intends to make publicly available all master theses that receive a final grade of 6 or higher. They should be placed in MSc thesis online. In some cases, WUR may not make a thesis publicly available even though it has a final grade of 6 or higher. If this occurs, the thesis assessment form should explain why the thesis is not publicly available and how long it should not be publicly available.
The thesis agreement or the thesis assessment form should state that the thesis should or should not be made available open access in the WUR repository. WUR is currently revising its policy for publishing MSc theses.
Yes, in principle WUR owns the copyright on all publications written by its employees (see question: Who owns copyright on research reports and publication? on the page Ownership & licences). Furthermore, the project contract or funding policies might determine that a third party (and not WUR) has the copyright (see question: Who owns copyright on works that are created with others? and What is joint ownership? on the page Ownership & licences). Only the copyright owner has the right to express, publish, copy or re-use the work. Still, researchers have to make many copyright-related decisions, e.g., do I have to state something about copyright in a disclaimer, can I always share my presentation with the world through a repository etc.
If you want to publish a non-peer reviewed publication and share it with the world, please:
- determine who owns the copyright. In most case this is not the researcher (see page Ownership & licences).
- determine if you are allowed to publish and share the publication in a repository. Check the project contract, funding policies, or ask the project leader, the legal department of your science group or the science group director.
decide what information to include in the publication's disclaimer. If you are allowed to publish and share the publication, you have the following three options for disclaimers:
- a. Provide no copyright information on copyright: the publication is still copyright protected and people may not copy or publish your publication without permission. There are, however, several exceptions. For instance, citing is allowed as well as private use of your note, or the use of parts of the note in education.
- b. State “all rights reserved” and who owns the copyright: the publication is still copyright protected and people may not copy or publish your publication without permission. There are, however, several exceptions. For instance, citing is allowed, as well as private use of your note, or the use of parts of the note in education.
c. State who owns the copyright and include a general licence that allows for reproduction and (re)publication of your work by third parties.
- i. This can be done through a CC-licence (see question: What is a Creative Commons licence? and If I want to make my research output available under a CC-licence, what CC-licence should I choose? on the page Ownership & licences).
- ii. This can be done by writing your own licence (see question: What is a licence? on the page Ownership & licences).
If you submit manuscripts (chapters of your PhD thesis) to a journal after your thesis has been submitted and made publicly available through Wageningen University & Research PhD theses, explain to the publisher that the manuscript is based on thesis work. You can do this either in your submission e-mail or within the acknowledgement section of your article.
If you do not explain beforehand that the manuscript is based on thesis work, you may receive an e-mail from the publisher that your manuscript cannot be accepted because of plagiarism. In this case, contact the publisher and explain your situation. If you need help, please contact your science group's legal advisors.
Another option is to place an embargo on your thesis before you submit it by sending an e-mail to email@example.com to request this embargo. During the 1-year embargo, your thesis will not be available online and will not appear in plagiarism-detection software. You may also extend the embargo if required.
If you accidently submitted your manuscript to a predatory journal and your article is published online this may cause reputation damage as well as losing the possibility to publish this article in a legitimate journal. In such case, it is crucuial that you contact the predatory journal as soon as possible to demand rejection of the publication. Your science group's legal advisors can you help you in such a case. They can help you in dealing with unexpected invoices, rejection and possible withdrawal fees, in contacting the predatory publisher and any legal advice you may need. If you do not know where to start, please send the CIP an e-mail and we will advise on the best course of action and refer you to the right contact person. WUR Library has put together an information sheet with a thorough overview to help recognise a predatory journal/publisher.
If your article is republished by a predatory journal, please refer to the next question.
It might happen that a predatory publisher re-publishes an article by you. This can be legitimate in case your article was published with an open access licence and all licence conditions are respected (see question: Can I prevent the re-use of my article published under a CC-licence? on the page Ownership & licences). However, re-publication may also be unlawful. If so, it is recommended to contact the original publisher to discuss further steps, such as demanding the removal of the copied publication. If you need help, please contact the CIP. We will advise about the subsequent steps and, if required, will act promptly by contacting the predatory publisher. If you need advice on possible reputation damage, please contact your science group's legal advisors.
If you accidently submitted your manuscript to a predatory journal, please refer to the previous question.