Employer and publisher agreements

Read more about employer and publisher agreements

Does my publisher also hold the rights to publications I will write in the future?

No

Can I decide myself what to do with my work on new forms of media that emerge (such as the birth of the Internet)?

If you have surrendered your copyright, this also includes all future forms of exploitation. In that case you may no longer decide what to do with your work yourself

If you have only partially surrendered your rights, or if you have issued a licence, the relevant contracts will at least need to explicitly include future forms of exploitation by the party to whom the rights/licence have been issued. In that case, these agreements will determine how much say you have in what you do with your work. Also check the copyright contract law that entered into force on 1 July 2015 (amendments to the Copyright Act), and see whether it applies to your situation.

Can I modify my publisher's standard contract?

A contract outlines the agreements made between two parties. Publishers usually use a standard contract when publishing material, however this does not mean that no modifications to it are possible. Be clear about your wishes, and ask your publisher to include them in the contract. This will often involve some negotiation, but you are under no obligation whatsoever to sign a standard contract. In conjunction with JISC, SURF has developed an alternative publisher contract: the 'licence to publish'.

More information

JISC

As a researcher, who owns my research papers?

All researchers contracted by higher professional education (HBO) institutions are subject to the regulations set out in the copyright act and the Collective Employment Agreement for the Higher Professional Education Sector (the CAO-HBO). Section 7 of the Copyright Act and section E-7 of the CAO-HBO are clear on the matter: copyright belongs to the employer (university of applied sciences) if the materials were created as part of educational duties.

More information

Dutch copyright act (in Dutch)
Cao-hbo (in Dutch)

I am leaving the university of applied sciences. May I take the research publications with me that I have created, and continue to use them?

No you may not, unless you are the copyright owner.

In general the university of applied sciences will own the rights, or they will have been transferred to a publisher. It is also possible that the research paper was published under a certain licence, which determines how the publication may be used. If the rights belong to the university of applied sciences, you could obtain a licence from your (old) employer (the university of applied sciences) for the continued use (or reuse) of the material. Make agreements with your (old) employer (the university of applied sciences) on this matter.

More information

Dutch copyright act (in Dutch) 
Cao-hbo (in Dutch)

Can a party other than my university of applied sciences influence the agreements made with the publisher?

In some cases, those funding the research will demand that the research results be published in a certain manner, often involving availability under Open Access. There may also be other parties who exert some influence (or wish to).

More information

Website OpenAccess

The publisher asks me whether I want a CC-BY, CC-BY-NC, CC-BY-ND or a CC-BY-ND-NC. What do these abbreviations mean?

They refer to various Creative Commons licences.

CC-BY

CC-BY is the Creative Commons Attribution licence.

With a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC-BY), everyone has permission to distribute, copy and modify your work on the condition that you are credited for the work. Modifying refers to translating, abridging, summarising or otherwise altering the work.

CC-BY-ND

The abbreviation ND stands for 'no derivatives', meaning that derivative work is prohibited.

With a CC-BY-ND licence, you permit the distribution and copying of your work on the condition that you are credited for the work, but you do not permit your work to be modified. In other words, your work may not be translated, edited or otherwise altered without your permission. The advantage of this is that no one can 'mess up' your work. A disadvantage is that if someone wants to translate or abridge your work or save it in a different format, this person first has to ask for your permission (and that of any co-authors) as long as the copyright applies. 

CC-BY-NC

The abbreviation NC stands for 'non-commercial use', meaning that commercial use is prohibited.

With a CC-BY-NC licence, you permit the distribution, copying and modification of your work on the condition that you are credited for the work, but you do not permit your work to be used for commercial purposes. In other words, your work may not be used commercially without your permission (and that of your co-authors).

In some cases, commercial use is clear, as in a company 'selling' your work despite the fact that it is freely available elsewhere. The problem is that there is a grey area when it comes to commercial use. Commercial use is not clearly defined: is it commercial use to index your work and make it easy to find on Google, to use it as part of a private collaboration or to reproduce it at the price of printing? For this reason, the use of NC is not recommended. 

More information

Who owns the educational material I have created as a lecturer?

All lecturers employed by higher professional education (HBO) institutions are subject to the regulations set out in the Dutch Copyright Act (Auteurswet) and the Collective Employment Agreement for the Higher Professional Education Sector (the CAO-HBO). Section 7 of the Copyright Act and Section E-7 of the CAO-HBO are clear on the matter: copyright belongs to the employer if the materials were created as part of educational duties, unless the parties agree otherwise.

More information

Copyright Act (Dutch) 
CAO-HBO (Dutch)

What is my employer allowed to do with the educational materials I have created?

Your employer may do anything at all, given that the employer is, in principle, the copyright owner. It is possible for your employer to waive these rights, and to make agreements with you on the matter.

More information

Copyright Act (Dutch) 
CAO-HBO (Dutch)

I am leaving the university of applied sciences. May I take the research publications with me that I have created, and continue to use them?

No you may not, unless you are the copyright owner.

In general the university of applied sciences will own the rights, or they will have been transferred to a publisher. It is also possible that the research paper was published under a certain licence, which determines how the publication may be used. If the rights belong to the university of applied sciences, you could obtain a licence from your (old) employer (the university of applied sciences) for the continued use (or reuse) of the material. Make agreements with your (old) employer (the university of applied sciences) on this matter.

More information

Dutch copyright act (in Dutch) 
Cao-hbo (in Dutch)

Does the CAO-HBO contain any information on copyright?

The Collective Employment Agreement for the Higher Professional Education Sector (CAO-HBO) includes explicit copyright provisions (Article E-7 on Copyrights and Industrial Property), stating that copyright falls to the employer for all materials created by the employee either for the employer or as part of their job.

More information

CAO-HBO (in Dutch)

I want to publish a book that I have written. May I negotiate with a publisher?

Agreements with publishers may only be made by those who own the copyright. In most cases, this will be the employer.

If your employer is the copyright owner, they may authorise you to negotiate with the publisher (possibly under certain conditions). The details of any such arrangements will vary between employers (i.e. universities of applied sciences).

Is it a bad thing that I have no contract with a publisher?

Authors nowadays rely less on publishers to publish their work.

You can place your work on a web page yourself, or e-mail it to interested colleagues. Virtually all education institutions have a repository where you can include your publication. Another possibility is to place your work on discipline-related websites. You therefore do not need to conclude contracts with a publisher in order to distribute your work. In some cases you will need to, however, if you wish to publish in a particular journal or release a book as part of a series. These contracts can be limited to a single publication via a single medium.

More information

I once signed a contract with a publisher – what does that mean?

It all depends on the agreements set out in the contract you signed, so get the contract out and have a look at it. It may be that you authorised an exclusive transfer of copyright, or a transfer under certain conditions. Also view the copyright contract law that entered into force on 1 July 2015 (amendments to the Copyright Act), and see whether it applies to your situation.

More information

Dutch copyright act (in Dutch)

What will happen if I decide not to sign a contract proposal by a publisher?

If you do not sign the contract, either no rights will be transferred (in any way whatsoever) or no licence will be issued.

In practice, however, most publishers will publish your article anyway. If the publisher brings up the draft contract they sent to you again, you can always decide to limit the agreements to a single publication via a single medium. 

What agreements can be made with publishers?

You can either make verbal or written agreements with publishers regarding publication of your work.

A verbal agreement generally only allows you to give permission for inclusion of an article in the relevant issue of the journal. Otherwise you are at liberty to decide what to do with the article; there will be no transfer of copyright or issuing of an exclusive licence (this is only possible via a relevant written or other document). In some cases, the journal's publication details (colofon) will list the permissions you have granted, however this has no legal implications whatsoever. Written contracts are generally concluded for publications other than articles.

There are a number of distinct situations regarding written contracts: 
1. You surrender copyright to the publisher. In this case, the publisher may do whatever they like with the material. However, it must be made clear which copyrights (i.e. pertaining to what) are transferred; if this is unclear, they cannot be considered to have been transferred. Look up the copyright contract law that entered into force on 1 July 2015 (amendments to the Copyright Act), and see whether it applies to your situation.

2. You issue an exclusive licence to the publisher (usage rights) for the material (or part thereof), but you do not surrender copyright. Although the publisher does not own the copyright, only they may carry out the agreed activities using the material. Check the copyright contract law that entered into force on 1 July 2015 (amendments to the Copyright Act), and see whether it applies to your situation.

 3. You issue the publisher with a non-exclusive licence, without surrender of copyright. The publisher may only use your material for the purposes described in the contract. The non-exclusive nature of the agreement means that you can also issue these usage rights to others. Just to be sure, check the copyright contract law that entered into force on 1 July 2015 (amendments to the Copyright Act), and see whether it applies to your situation.

 The difference between surrendering rights and issuing a licence is comparable to the difference between selling and leasing a house. Sale involves a new owner; a lease only gives permission to use the house in question. The conditions in a written contract generally take precedence over the stipulations in the Copyright Act; the only exceptions to this are the mandatory statutory provisions in the Copyright Act, which cannot be circumvented by contractual agreements. It is therefore important to be familiar with the contract you conclude with your publisher, so that you know how you yourself may use your publications.

More information

Dutch copyright act (in Dutch)