Publishing your work

Do you want to publish an (academic) article or book? This guide gives more details about the copyright on your own article or book. We also discuss whether or not to transfer your copyright if you are going to publish your own work.

Who holds the copyright on an (academic) publication?

The creator of the work automatically holds the copyright to that work in accordance with the Dutch Copyright Act. There is one important exception to this rule; namely if the work is produced by an employee. Article 7 of the Dutch Copyright Act (i.e. Employer’s copyright) states: “Where work performed in the service of another person consists in the production of certain literary, scientific or artistic works, the person in whose service they were produced shall be deemed to be the creator thereof, unless otherwise agreed between the parties”.

In principle, in accordance with the law and the collective labour agreement, a university college holds the copyright to the work and creations of its staff. In principle, at the majority of universities the staff members are considered the copyright holders. It is always possible to make agreements by mutual consultation, preferably in writing, with your own institution concerning the copyright on your (research) publications.

Copyright on a publication with multiple authors

Academic publications with multiple authors usually have shared copyright. Permission is required from the co-authors for anything done with the publication. You do not have to take account of co-authors if your own work is a part of a collective work in which the works belong together and are adapted to each other but may be shared (e.g. an article in a textbook), or if the contributions of the various authors may still be distinguished from each other.


Publication with full retention of copyright

Own management

If you want to retain the copyright to your own publications, see whether you could publish the publication yourself.

Open access

Another option is to publish your work with open access. Open access stands for free access and free use of the material. By publishing in this way, the creator retains his/her copyright, the creator implicitly gives permission for reuse and the article becomes available to a wider audience. Two important conditions are attached to (re)use: the correct acknowledgement of the source and respecting the author’s personal rights. Also refer to the Quick reference guide for basic knowledge of copyright.

Creative Commons licence

With a Creative Commons licence you give other people the opportunity to use your publication in the way you choose. You retain all your rights but give other people permission to distribute your work, to share it with others or - with some licences - to edit it. Also see the Quick reference guide for finding terms of use.


Publication with partial retention of copyright

If publication with full retention of copyright is not possible, then try to retain part of your copyright. You negotiate this with the publisher and use an addendum or licence.

An addendum is a annex to a contract. Some institutions have their own addendum to be included in a publication contract. For more information contact your own Copyright Information Point (AIP).

A licence is formal permission to do something. There are two different types of licences you can give the publisher:

  • An exclusive licence (right of use) to (a part of) the material. In this case, you do not transfer the copyright. The publisher may only use the material in the way agreed. Due to the exclusivity of the licence, you may not grant the right of use to anyone else.
  • A non-exclusive licence. In this case also, you do not transfer the copyright. The publisher may only use your material as described in the agreement. The non-exclusivity leaves you the possibility to grant these rights of use to others as well.

Publication with full transfer of copyright

Sometimes you cannot avoid publication with a publisher who requests the transfer of (part of) your copyright. This gives the publisher the right to use your work, or to publish it and distribute it (reproduce it). Copyrights must always be transferred in writing; publishers usually use standard contracts for this. This contract usually states what you can do with your own publication, such as whether or not your publication can be included on your own website or in an institutional repository, whether it can be used for teaching purposes and adapted to make it into a new publication.


Publiceren eigen materiaal

This image is based on the first three columns of the flow chart of the Radboud in Nijmegen.

What can I do with my publication?

  • If you retained the copyright yourself, for instance by publishing through open access (see above), then you can decide yourself what you will do with your work. You can distribute it without any restrictions, for instance via your own website or a repository, you can use it for teaching purposes and can adapt it and make it into a new publication.
  • If you transferred the copyright for your publication to a publisher, then the contract will stipulate what you can do with your own publication as the author.

You can do more with the pre-print and post-print versions of your article. You usually retain the copyright on those versions. You can find more information about the terms from publishers and the rights authors have to make their works freely available on their own website or to deposit it in a repository via the SHERPA/RoMEO website. Also see the Quick reference guide for finding terms of use.

Copyright on books of a university college or university

In principle, the university college or university holds the copyright on publications written by lecturers or researchers. In practice this proves more complex, primarily because the institution rarely publishes the publications itself. Books are almost always published by a commercial publisher. Some institutions have a standard licence for book publications. Making and setting down good agreements in advance with all parties is important. Check with your own Copyright Information Point (AIP) whether your institution has a publication policy for books.

Quotations and acknowledgement of sources

If you write an academic publication you will inevitably use work produced by other people. Complying with copyright is important here. You can use other people’s material without permission if you want to quote it; acknowledgement of the source is always mandatory. Copying other people’s work without acknowledging the source is plagiarism. Quotations and the acknowledgement of sources are subject to specific rules. Also see the Quick reference guide on plagiarism.

Questions? get in touch with your Copyright Information Point (AIP)

Do you have further questions about this quick reference guide? Please contact one of the members of staff at the Copyright Information Point (AIP) of your institution.


Download deze vuistregels in PDF
Vuistregels publiceren eigen werk
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Download this quick reference guide in PDF
Quick reference guide for publishing your work
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