Copyright and Licensing – Part 3

In 2016, we published 2 blog posts on copyright and licensing: Part1 and Part 2In these posts we explained and illustrated that copyright and licensing are two different things linked by the fact that licenses can only be granted by copyright holders. Here is Part 3, a guest post by our Editor-in-Chief, Tom Olijhoek.


In this post I want to discuss the practice by some open access publishers of not using Creative Commons licenses but using their own constructions for publisher specific licenses. A reason for this may be, for example, that the government of the country of the publisher does not recognise the (American company derived) Creative Commons licensing.

DOAJ accepts journals that do not use CC licensing ONLY if the specifics of the publisher licenses match the conditions of Creative Commons licenses. That is to say that licenses need to be compliant with the BOAI conditions of Open Access and need to allow for immediate access to all materials, with implicit permission to download , share, distribute and use the material for lawful purposes.

To better explain what DOAJ will and will not accept, I want to highlight some real life examples.

Example 1:  Copyright transfer agreement in conflict with open access

Let’s have a look at a case where the publishers use a copyright transfer agreement conflicting with the conditions of the Creative Commons License applied to the same work.

Publisher [x] has a copyright transfer agreement (CTA) saying:

The Author(s) agree that all copies of the Work made under any of the above rights shall prominently include the following copyright notice: “© XXXX [year] X. One print or electronic copy may be made for personal use only. Systematic reproduction and distribution, duplication of any material in this paper for a fee or for commercial purposes, or modifications of the content of this paper are prohibited.”

This is in clear conflict with the conditions of BOAI Open Access and also with the use of the CC BY-NC license used by the very same journal.

After discussions with the publisher, two passages in the CTA now read:

[x] shall make the final, published version of the article freely available on the [x] Publishing platform without charge to the user or his/her institution. Users are allowed to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full text of the article, or use them for any other lawful purpose, without asking prior permission from the publisher or the Author(s). This is in accordance with the BOAI definition of open access
Copyright Notice The Author(s) agree that all copies of the Work made under any of the above rights shall prominently include the following copyright notice© XXXX [year] [x] Users may use, reuse, and build upon the article, or use the article for text or data mining, so long as such uses are for non-commercial purposes and appropriate attribution is maintained. All other rights are reserved.

I also want elaborate on the point that publishers often demand a copyright transfer agreement with a range of arguments like:

[x] needs copyright for an article because, as publisher, [x] is in the best position to defend the article legally. In addition, transfer of copyright assures [x] that the work in question is entirely the author’s own. Once again, the purpose of transfer of copyright is not to prevent the author from reuse of his or her own work, as long as this doesn’t involve republication in a competing journal or other competing resource.

DOAJ holds the policy that leaving the copyright with the author is best practice. The publisher will only need publishing rights. For this reason journals of publishers who leave the copyright with the author are eligible for the DOAJ Seal.

Example 2: Copyright statement in conflict with open access:

© Copyrights of all the papers published in Journal of XXX are with its publisher, [x] [Country]. Users have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles in the journal, and that users can use and reuse material in the journal as long as attribution is given when appropriate or necessary. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form or by any means without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Example 3: License in conflict with open access:

You may read, download, print, copy, search, link to the full text, or use them for any lawful purpose not otherwise prohibited here. You may not modify, create derivative works from, participate in the transfer or sale of, post on the World Wide Web, or in any way exploit the Site or any portion thereof for any public or commercial use without the express written permission of [x]

Example 4: License  in conflict with open access:

Reproduction, posting, transmission or other distribution or use of the article or any material therein, requires credit to the article author as copyright holder. Permission does not need to be obtained for downloading, printing, or linking to [Repository] content. Individuals have the right to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of articles in the Journal XXX and to use them for any other lawful purpose…

/// same document:
Libraries interested in printing a paper from Journal of XXX for their permanent collection should contact the journal editors responsible for posting the paper. The requesting library can then gain copyright clearance from the paper’s author(s). People seeking an exception, or who have questions about use, should contact the editors.

It may be evident from the statements above that the use of non-Creative Commons licenses and the use of copyright transfer agreements make the evaluation of open access  journals on acceptable copyright and licensing conditions difficult and time consuming. At the same time the different conditions created by publishers in these cases make it very confusing for authors and users to know their rights.  I realise that the issue of copyright and licensing ranks among one of the most difficult issues of open access publishing. Therefore I strongly recommend that publishers make use of the excellent Creative Commons licensing schemes and also leave copyright for published works with the authors. Again, these conditions are the key requirements for obtaining the DOAJ Seal of Excellence in open access publishing.

I sincerely hope that the number of DOAJ Seal journals in DOAJ will continue to rise!

Tom Olijhoek

(Copyright and licensing information specific to completing an application is also available.)


This is a guest post by Ivonne Lujano, DOAJ Ambassador, Latin America



A current search in the DOAJ database reveals that there are 916 journals from Latin America and the Caribbean that have been accepted after the implementation of stricter DOAJ criteria in March 2014. This represents approximately 16% of the journals that have gone through an evaluation process led by the DOAJ team. As it is stated in DOAJ policy, the criteria implemented emphasize the transparency of information presented by the journals to their users, which aims to improve quality and visibility of the scientific output published in peer reviewed journals.

Latin America has an extensive  background in open access journals publishing and, consequently, journals assessment policies are well developed. Different criteria for reviewing the quality of journals have been developed in the region by mainly two types of agencies: 1) national systems of evaluation (in Argentina, Colombia, Mexico, etc.), with different levels of complexity and implementation according to the purposes of assessment, for instance, to allocate funds to the journals; and 2) regional systems of scientific information, i.e. Latindex, SciELO and Redalyc, which have similar indexing criteria (de Oliveira Amorim et al., 2015). Because of these evaluation systems there has been a significant growth of quality in Latin American journals according to international publishing standards in the last few years.

However, there are still some challenges to push forward the Latin American OA model, specially in two key aspects that are related to the level of openness: transparency on charges for authors and copyright & permission policies.

The Latin American non APC model

One of the main characteristics of the predominant journals publishing model in Latin America is that articles are published without costs to authors. This non APC model is possible because of the public funds that journals receive from national or institutional budgets, resources to be managed by, mostly, scholarly publishers such as university presses. Different stakeholders in the region support the idea of staying as a non-commercial OA model despite some trends of charging different fees to authors and their institutions. Vessuri, Guédon & Cetto (2014) have raised awareness that in a context of competition, commercial publishers are seeing the potential of Latin American journals as an opportunity to make a profit from offering publishing services, which eventually could shift the non-commercial model. According to DOAJ data, only 8% of journals included from Latin America have APCs, which range from $4 up to $1400 US. These journals are edited in Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Mexico and Peru, and 62.6% of them are managed by associations and societies. Most journals edited by universities and research centres have no charges; however, there are some journals funded by public federal and state-level universities that charge minimal amounts to authors in order to cover some services, for instance, the cost of the DOI assigned for the article published. In any case, DOAJ strongly encourages editors to give transparent information on this topic because is still common to see journals with a lack of details on the charges levied.

Copyright and permissions in Latin American journals

Despite the success of the open access publishing model in Latin America, there are still some important challenges in this region in terms of permissions to use, reuse, adapt and remix the contents. Based on DOAJ data, 89% of indexed Latin American journals have adopted Creative Commons licenses to distribute their articles. Nevertheless, only half of these journals (49.1%) use the CC-BY license, which allows others to use the materials for any lawful purpose with the only requirement being the correct attribution of authorship and source of publication. One third of the Brazilian journals indexed in DOAJ use this license; only 14% of Colombian journals have the same policy. One of the major concerns among editors in Latin America is still commercial use: 45.8% of journals allow readers to use the articles only for non-commercial purposes. The use of the CC-BY-NC license represents 23.9% of Latin American journals listed in DOAJ, followed by 14.9% of journals using the CC-BY-NC-ND license and 6.9% that have adopted the CC-BY-NC-SA license.

The use of the most open license (CC-BY) is still controversial in Latin America because publishers mistrust the terms of this license, which represents a big challenge for open access advocacy. The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association (OASPA) recommends this license as it assures a wider reuse and distribution of content, e.g. the use in education practices. DOAJ accepts journals that use any CC license, but also encourages the adoption of the more unrestricted licenses. In order to achieve the DOAJ Seal for best practice in open access publishing, a journal cannot apply the most restrictive CC licenses for sharing scientific articles, i.e. CC BY-ND or CC BY-NC-ND.   


The Latin American open access publishing model is going through a period full challenges, especially when some governments have serious budgetary difficulties in Science & Technology and Higher Education systems.

In spite of that, there are many advantages of this model. One of them is the level of cohesion of editors that have worked in collaboration for the improvement of quality. Author charges and copyright policies are still important concerns in Latin America, and DOAJ is committed to collaborate with publishers of this region in order to improve best practice, as well as openness for readers and for authors.


De Oliveira Amorim et al. (2015) Evaluation Systems of Scientific Journals in Latin America, in: Alperin, J. and Fischman, G. (eds.) Made in Latin America : open access, scholarly journals, and regional innovations Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires: CLACSO.

Vessuri, H., Guédon, J.C., Cetto, A.M. (2014) Excellence or quality? Impact of the current competition regime on science and scientific publishing in Latin America and its implications for development, Current Sociology, Vol. 62(5) 647 –665, DOI: 10.1177/0011392113512839



This is a guest post by Miguel Navas, member of AccesoAbierto research group and Librarian at the Catalan Government in Barcelona, Spain.

According to Ulrich’s data 1, Spain is in tenth position in scholarly journal production, with  2.5% of the titles worldwide. The United States alone accounts for 21%, and nearly one third of journals are published by countries with fewer contributions than Spain.

However, when talking about Open Access journals, the output is quite different: according to both Ulrich’s and DOAJ2, Spain is currently country number four in the world with 5.5%,  after Brazil, UK and USA. Yet, what is the level of adoption of OA in Spanish journals?

According to Ulrich’s, 34% of active scholarly journals published in Spain are OA, but this proportion is higher when consulting Dulcinea3, the most comprehensive, up-to-date and accurate source for Spanish journals. A current search shows that 76% of the journals are freely available online, 10.2% operate under an embargo, and only 1.5% are hybrid. The remaining 12.3% of  journals are restricted to subscribers.

Nevertheless, free access does not necessarily imply Open Access. Thus, that 76% should be correlated with re-use rights in order to get the exact amount of OA journals.



A recent study5 has revealed that most of the Spanish journals indexed in Web of Science or Scopus are Open Access (56.9%). The extent of OA adoption varied by subject area; it represented 68% of the Social Sciences and Humanities titles, and 55% of Science, Technology and Medicine journals. It also depended on the publisher type; OA models were adopted by 81% of the journals published by universities and research centers, 71% of the titles published by associations and societies, and only 30% of journals belonging to commercial publishers. APC-funded OA journals, both full OA and hybrid, were very few.

Open Access in Spain is driven by the online presses of academic institutions, based mostly in OJS platforms at both individual and collective level. The Spanish Center for Advanced Studies (CSIC), Complutense University of Madrid, University of Barcelona and Catalan Open Access Journals (RACO) are good examples of that.

There are 507 Spanish journals indexed in DOAJ6, while the current total number of Spanish free-access journals is 1,3547 . This fact suggests that only about one third (37.4%) of the free-access Spanish journals appear in DOAJ as OA titles. Opposedly,  196 of the 253 Spanish OA journals indexed either in Wos or Scopus are included in DOAJ as well, showing a much higher rate for this specific group (77.5%).  Thus, there is a lot of work to do in order to index Spanish OA journals in DOAJ, especially those not being covered in WoS or Scopus.

Continue reading

Policy updates: open access statement and user registration

Open Access Statement

Until recently, DOAJ has insisted that journals state very clearly on their web site a full and detailed open access statement, preferably one that follows closely the Budapest Open Access Initiative definition.

From 8th September, DOAJ will accept a short open access statement—even as short as ‘This journal is open access.’—but ONLY in combination with a Creative Commons licensing statement, or equivalent licensing statement, on the same page and, preferably, in the same paragraph. As always, this statement must be on the journal web site and not held on a different site. If the licensing statement is not on the same page as the open access statement then the extended open access statement complying with BOAI definition will be required.

User Registration

From August 2016, DOAJ no longer accepts journals that require users to register to view the full text. This change was put into effect immediately. As DOAJ reviews journals that are already in DOAJ, as part of their regular update work, they will remove those journals that require registration and notify the publishers.

If you have questions, send email to

Copyright and Licensing – Part 2

Two weeks ago, I published Part 1 in our copyright and licensing series. Here is Part 2, a guest post by our Editor-in-Chief, Tom Olijhoek.

[Both of these posts are now available in Croatian, thanks to the fantastic translation efforts of Lovorka Caja, librarian at Rudjer Boskovic Institute and Jadranka Stojanovski, Assistant Professor at University of Zadar.]

The first part of the post covers 9 different scenarios that have different copyright and licensing conditions. Each scenario illustrates the most common set of conditions that we see for an author’s published work. Each scenario is followed by the two questions from the Copyright and Permissions section of the DOAJ Application form, illustrating how those questions should be answered: does the author hold the copyright without restriction; does the author retain publishing rights without restriction? There is a level of complexity in trying to illustrate this issue because there are 3 main variables that come into play:

  • has the author transferred copyright?
  • has a Creative Commons license being applied to the work and if so, which type?
  • has a separate publishing agreement been signed with the publisher?

The second part is a list of examples from publishers who have open access programs. We will update this list with more examples as we find them, particularly those that have unique characteristics.

The last part is for those readers who want to get into more detail on this subject and is a list of recommended reading on this topic. Let us know if you have more!

Tom wrote this piece with the intention that it be used as a point of reference for open access copyright issues.  We hope that it will clear the way for authors trying to navigate different publishers copyright and licensing conditions; and for publishers who want to make sure that they publish the most open and accessible content.

As always, we welcome your feedback!

A) Applying a License

A person who wants to publish his / her work can choose to do so under the conditions of a public license. The most common of these is a Creative Commons license and this license is nothing more than a permission from the “rights-holder”, or licensor, to another person to use the work in ways described by the license. (The rights-holder is the entity that may grant rights to others.) It is important to understand that the licensor is not subject to the conditions of the license, except when the given license is exclusive. In this case, the licensee receives an exclusive right to use the work in the ways described in the terms of the license and the licensor can no longer use the work, as detailed in the terms of the license. (There can be other situations where the rights-holder or licensor is subjected to the conditions in the license.)

B) Applying Copyright

When applying copyright, there are really only two states: where the author retains copyright—the author remains the rights-holder—and where the author transfers copyright to a publisher and the publisher becomes the rights-holder.

The Author Retains Copyright…
…and Publishes Using a CC BY License

If the author retains copyright and wants to publish the work with a CC BY license, everyone is granted the right to use the work as described by the CC BY license. In addition the author must grant the publisher the right to publish the work. This can be a contract for exclusive or non-exclusive publishing rights. Exclusive publishing rights do not match the conditions of a CC BY license so in principle it should not be possible for this combination to exist. However, in reality this combination does exist and the author loses the publishing rights to his / her work. Even though there is a conflict with the conditions of the CC license, the contract is legally valid. So, with a CC BY license and exclusive publishing rights transferred to the publisher:

Does the author(s) hold the copyright without restrictions? No
Does the author(s) retain publishing rights without restrictions? No

If the author has signed a contract with the publisher about non-exclusive publishing rights, the author keeps the publishing rights. So with a CC BY license and non-exclusive publishing rights granted to the publisher:

Does the author(s) hold the copyright without restrictions? Yes
Does the author(s) retain publishing rights without restrictions? Yes
…and Publishes Using Another CC License

If the author retains copyright and the work is published with a more restrictive license—for example a CC BY-NC license—AND an exclusive publishing contract has been signed with a single publisher, both copyright and publishing rights are restricted…

Does the author(s) hold the copyright without restrictions? No
Does the author(s) retain publishing rights without restrictions? No

… but in cases where the author has a non-exclusive publishing contract with a publisher and the work is published with a more restrictive license, the author retains all the rights to publish the work elsewhere, including commercially, because she / he is not subject to the conditions of her / his own license, regardless of the type of CC license chosen.

Does the author(s) hold the copyright without restrictions? Yes
Does the author(s) retain publishing rights without restrictions? Yes
…but the Publisher retains Commercial Rights

If the author retains copyright but has signed an agreement with the publisher to transfer all commercial rights and / or grant the publisher exclusive publishing rights of the work, then the author has restricted copyright and has restricted publishing rights.

Does the author(s) hold the copyright without restrictions? No
Does the author(s) retain publishing rights without restrictions? No
The Author Transfers Copyright…
…To the Publisher Who Publishes the Work Under a CC BY License

If the author transfers copyright to a publisher, the publisher may decide to publish the work using a CC BY license. In this case, the author is bound by the conditions of the CC BY license since s/he is no longer the rights-holder. By transferring copyright, publishing rights are also transferred, …

Does the author(s) hold the copyright without restrictions? No
Does the author(s) retain publishing rights without restrictions? No

… except when the author has signed a ‘back-licensing’ contract with the publisher for non-exclusive publishing rights. In that case the author holds the publishing rights and can grant others the right to publish:

Does the author(s) hold the copyright without restrictions? No
Does the author(s) retain publishing rights without restrictions? Yes
…To the Publisher Who Publishes the Work Under Another CC License

If the author transfers copyright to a publisher and the publisher publishes the work using another CC license, for example a CC BY-NC license, then the author can no longer use the work commercially because s/he is subject to the conditions of the license granted by the copyright owner. The copyright owner is the rights-holder, the publisher. The author has the right to publish the work elsewhere but only non-commercially.

Does the author(s) hold the copyright without restrictions? No
Does the author(s) retain publishing rights without restrictions? No

In the case of an exclusive publishing agreement the author has no right to publish the work elsewhere, either commercially or non-commercially.

Does the author(s) hold the copyright without restrictions? No
Does the author(s) retain publishing rights without restrictions? No


C) Examples of copyright statement

The copyright statements from the following publishers were taken from their web sites and are correct at the time of writing. Where NO has been recorded against ‘unrestricted copyright’, these are cases where authors supposedly retain copyright but the publishers retain the rights to all commercial uses of the work and / or exclusive publishing rights.

BioMed Central | Copernicus | Dove Press | Elsevier | Hindawi | Institute Of Slavic Studies Of The Polish Academy Of Sciences | Nature | PAGEPress Publications | PLoS | SAGE

SCORE Author copyright unrestricted / Author publishing rights unrestricted

BioMed Central
SCORE Yes / Yes

Authors publishing with BioMed Central retain the copyright to their work, licensing it under the Creative Commons Attribution License which allows articles to be re-used and re-distributed without restriction, as long as the original work is correctly cited. BioMed Central is owned by Springer Science+Business Media, and also hosts the SpringerOpen platform.

Copernicus Publications
SCORE Yes / Yes
  • Copyright on any article is retained by the author(s). Regarding copyright transfers please see below.
  • Authors grant Copernicus Publications a license to publish the article and identify itself as the original publisher.
  • Authors grant Copernicus Publications commercial rights to produce hardcopy volumes of the journal for sale to libraries and individuals.
  • Authors grant any third party the right to use the article freely as long as its original authors and citation details are identified.
  • The article and any associated published material is distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License
Dove Press

Open Access is a publication model where neither readers nor a reader’s institution are charged for access to articles or other resources. Users are free to read, download, copy, distribute, print, search, or link to the full texts of these articles for any non-commercial purpose. Authors who publish with Dove Medical Press (DMP) retain the copyright and moral rights in their work.

The copyright is retained by the author subject to the grant of the exclusive license to DMP. DMP publish the author’s published material under a Creative Commons attribution-noncommerical license: Users of the author’s published article are free to use, distribute, reproduce, and create adapted works using the published paper, but only where the use is for non-commercial purposes and the author and Dove are properly attributed. Dove are entitled to manage permissions for commercial use of the author’s published paper.

Elsevier Publishing

User Rights
All articles published open access will be immediately and permanently free for everyone to read, download, copy and distribute. Permitted reuse is defined by your choice of one of the following user licenses:

Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY): lets others distribute and copy the article, to create extracts, abstracts, and other revised versions, adaptations or derivative works of or from an article (such as a translation), to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), to text or data mine the article, even for commercial purposes, as long as they credit the author(s), do not represent the author as endorsing their adaptation of the article, and do not modify the article in such a way as to damage the author’s honor or reputation.

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs (CC BY-NC-ND): for non-commercial purposes, lets others distribute and copy the article, and to include in a collective work (such as an anthology), as long as they credit the author(s) and provided they do not alter or modify the article.

Author Rights
For open access publishing this journal uses an exclusive licensing agreement. Authors will retain copyright alongside scholarly usage rights and Elsevier will be granted publishing and distribution rights.

Rights granted to Elsevier
For both subscription and open access articles, published in proprietary title, Elsevier is granted the following rights:

  • The exclusive right to publish and distribute an article, and to grant rights to others, including for commercial purposes.
  • For open access articles, Elsevier will apply the relevant third party user license where Elsevier publishes the article on its online platforms.
  • The right to provide the article in all forms and media so the article can be used on the latest technology even after publication.
  • The authority to enforce the rights in the article, on behalf of an author, against third parties, for example in the case of plagiarism or copyright infringement.
SCORE Yes / Yes

Open Access authors retain the copyrights of their papers, and all open access articles are distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided that the original work is properly cited. The use of general descriptive names, trade names, trademarks, and so forth in this publication, even if not specifically identified, does not imply that these names are not protected by the relevant laws and regulations.

Institute Of Slavic Studies Of The Polish Academy Of Sciences
SCORE Yes / Yes

The authors, through granting the Institute of the Slavic Studies, Polish Academy of Sciences (the publisher of the journal) the right to publish the work, accept the terms and conditions of the CC BY 3.0 PL license (; which allows the Institute to reproduce, distribute, publicly perform, create adaptations, and to commercially use the work, if stated by the author. The authors grant the Institute a non-exclusive license to publish the work in paper form; the number of copies shall not exceed 200. The Institute has the sole right to determine all the technical aspects of the publication, including the price and the form of distribution. Furthermore, the authors grant the Institute a non-exclusive license to use the work in the following way:

  1. sell and distribute the work in form other than selling copies, store it in electronic form, distribute parts of or all of the work for the purpose of the promotion of the Institute via computer networks and other digital media; record the work in any form, including digital media, and reproduce it in any form, including digital media;
  2. record the work in the memory of public computers located in the office of the Institute (or rooms used by the Institute);
  3. lend or lease copies of the work;
  4. make the work available, and send it through multi-media networks, esp. the Internet and Intranet, on-line, on demand, including making the work publicly available, in order that anyone can obtain access to the work or its parts wherever and whenever it is convenient for them.
Nature Publishing Group

NPG author license policy
This publishers’ policy applies to all journals published by the Nature Publishing Group (NPG), including the Nature journals. Nature Publishing Group’s policies are compatible with all major funders open access and self-archiving mandates. NPG does not require authors of original (primary) research papers to assign copyright of their published contributions. Authors grant NPG an exclusive license to publish, in return for which they can reuse their papers in their future printed work without first requiring permission from the publisher of the journal. For commissioned articles (for example, Reviews, News and Views), copyright is retained by NPG.

Open access articles in NPG journals are licensed under Creative Commons licenses. These provide an industry-standard framework to support easy re-use of open access material. Under Creative Commons, authors retain copyright of their work. All authors are required to complete a license to publish form before publication – this form can be downloaded from the journal’s instructions to authors.

e.g. from American College of Gastroenterology:

LICENSE TO PUBLISH TERMS 1. In consideration of the Society evaluating the Contribution for publication (and publishing the Contribution if the Society so decides) the Author(s) grant to the Society for the full term of copyright and any extensions thereto, subject to clause 2 below, the right and irrevocable license: (a) to edit, adapt, publish, reproduce, distribute, display and store the Contribution in all forms, formats and media whether now known or hereafter developed (including without limitation in print, digital and electronic form) throughout the world; (b) to translate the Contribution into other languages, create adaptations, summaries or extracts of the Contribution or other derivative works based on the Contribution and exercise all of the rights set forth in (a) above in such translations, adaptations, summaries, extracts and derivative works; (c) to license others to do any or all of the above, including but not limited to the right to grant readers the right to use the Contribution under the Creative Commons license selected above; and (d) to re-license article metadata without restriction (including but not limited to author name, title, abstract, citation, references, keywords and any additional information, as determined by the Society). 2. Ownership of the copyright in the Contribution remains with the Author(s). However, the Author(s)’ re-use rights in the Contribution are subject to the rights and restrictions set forth below in this Section, and in clause 3 and 4(a). After the Author(s) have submitted the Contribution to the Society hereunder, the Author(s)’ rights to re-use the Contribution shall be the same as those set forth in the Creative Commons license selected above, with the following additional re-use rights: (a) to reproduce the Contribution in whole or in part in any printed volume (book or thesis) of which they are the Author(s); and (b) to reuse figures or tables created by the Author(s) and contained in the Contribution in oral presentations and other works created by them.

PAGEPress Publications
SCORE Yes / Yes

PAGEPress has chosen to apply the Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial 3.0 License (CC BY-NC 3.0) to all manuscripts to be published.

Authors who publish with this journal agree to the following terms: 1. Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work’s authorship and initial publication in this journal. 2. Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal’s published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal. 3. Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work.

SCORE Yes / Yes

PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works we publish (read the human-readable summary or the full license legal code). Under this license, authors retain ownership of the copyright for their content, but allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute and/or copy the content as long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers. Appropriate attribution can be provided by simply citing the original article (e.g., Huntingtin Interacting Proteins Are Genetic Modifiers of Neurodegeneration. Kaltenbach LS et al. PLOS Genetics. 2007. 3(5) doi:10.1371/journal.pgen.0030082). For any reuse or redistribution of a work, users must also make clear the license terms under which the work was published. This broad license was developed to facilitate free access to, and unrestricted reuse of, original works of all types. Applying this standard license to your own work will ensure that it is freely and openly available in perpetuity.

SAGE Publications

SAGE requires the author as the rights holder to sign a Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement for all articles we publish. SAGE’s Journal Contributor’s Publishing Agreement is a license agreement under which the author retains copyright in the work but grants SAGE the sole and exclusive right and license to publish for the full legal term of copyright. Exceptions may exist where assignment of copyright is required or preferred by a proprietor other than SAGE. In this case, copyright in the work will be transferred from the author to the society.

What are my rights as author?
A – The following SAGE’s Global Journal Author Reuse Policy, effective as of March 20, 2013:

  • You retain copyright in your work.
  • You may do whatever you wish with the version of the article you submitted to the journal (version 1).
  • Once the article has been accepted for publication, you may post the accepted version (version 2) of the article on your own personal website, your department’s website or the repository of your institution without any restrictions.
  • You may not post the accepted version (version 2) of the article in any repository other than those listed above (ie you may not deposit in the repository of another institution or a subject repository) until 12 months after publication of the article in the journal.
  • You may use the published article (version 3) for your own teaching needs or to supply on an individual basis to research colleagues, provided that such supply is not for commercial purposes.
  • You may use the article (version 3) in a book you write or edit any time after publication in the journal.
  • You may not post the published article (version 3) on a website or in a repository without permission from SAGE.
  • When posting or re-using the article please provide a link to the appropriate DOI for the published version of the article on SAGE Journals (

All commercial or any other re-use of the published article should be referred to SAGE. More information can be found at:

Recommended reading

  1. Introducing Copyright, Julien Hofman and Commonwealth of Learning, 2009. License CC-BY-NC-ND. ISBN 978-1-894975-32-2.
  2. Owning and Using Scholarship: An IP Handbook for Teachers and Researchers. 2014. Copyright 2014 by Kevin L. Smith, JD. Fair use allowed. ISBN 978-0-8389-8747-6
  3. Open_Content: A_Practical_Guide_to_Using_Creative_Commons_Licenses. 2014. Dr. Till Kreutzer. License: CC-BY. ISBN: 978-3-940785-57-2
  4. Capitalism 3.o. A guide to reclaiming the commons. Copyright © 2006 by Peter Barnes. Electronic version is licensed under the CC-BY-NC-ND 2.5 License (some restrictions apply). ISBN-13: 978-1-57675-361-3
  5. Copyright law for librarians and educators : creative strategies and practical solutions. Kenneth D Crews. 2006. Copyright © 2006 by Kenneth D. Crews. Fair use allowed. ISBN-13: 978-0838909065
  6. Copyright for A level media studies.
  7. Digital archive of primary sources on copyright from the invention of the printing press (c. 1450) to the Berne Convention (1886) and beyond. Relaunch March 27, 2015.
  8. Think like a commoner. David Bollier. Book 2015. Website: License CC-BY-NC-SA. ISBN 978-1-55092-559-3
  9. Access to knowledge in the age of intellectual property. Gaëlle Krikorian and Amy Kapczynski. 2010. Creative Commons BY-NC-ND. ISBN 978-1-890951-97-9
  10. Copyright at Common Law in 1774 . H. Tomás Gómez-Arostegui. CREATe Working Paper Series DOI: 10.5281/zenodo.12467. Centre for Copyright and New Business Models in the Creative Economy (CREATe)
  11. The digital public domain, foundations for an open culture. Melanie Dulong de Rosnay and Juan Carlos De Martin. CC-BY 3.0. ISBN (Digital PDF) 978-1-906924-47-8
  12. So what about copyright, What Artists Need to Know About Copyright & Trademarks. David Bollier, Gigi Bradford, Laurie Racine and Gigi B. Sohn. Produced by Public Knowledge. License CC-BY-NC. ISBN: 1-4116-5379-3
  13. Opening Science, the Evolving Guide on How the Web is Changing Research, Collaboration and Scholarly Publishing. 2014. Edited by Sönke Bartling & Sascha Friesike. License CC-BY-NC ISBN 978-3-319-00026-8. DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-00026-8
  14. Creative Commons, a user guide. Simone Aliprando. 2011. License CC-BY-SA 3.0. ISBN: 9788895994550

Copyright and Licensing Incompatibility – Part 1

Copyright and Licensing. Not always compatible and yet we see these two thrown together in incompatible ways all the time.

This is the first of two posts on this subject. In this post, I’ll illustrate DOAJ’s experience in this murky area, showing you the sorts of conundrums we come up against every day in the applications we receive, how it is clear to us that there is little understanding in this area; then I’ll explain what DOAJ is looking for in its application form sections ‘Content licensing’ and ‘Copyright and permissions’, how these two sections illustrate differences between copyright and licenses and how we look for compatibility.

The second post, Part 2, is a guest post from our Editor-in-Chief, Tom Olijhoek who, together with a colleague from the Netherlands, has written a Help document illustrating instances of incompatibility between copyright and a license. It lists a variety of permutations and highlights the instances where signing away copyright directly contradicts the terms of a license.

[Both of these posts are now available in Croatian, thanks to the fantastic translation efforts of Lovorka Caja, librarian at Rudjer Boskovic Institute and Jadranka Stojanovski, Assistant Professor at University of Zadar.]


Licensing is a form of copyright known as ‘public copyright licensing‘. There are many types of public copyright licensing but the best known are those licenses created by the Creative Commons (CC). The Creative Commons licenses exist to allow the creator/author/originator of a work to show how that work can be used by others. In the words of CC themselves:

‘The Creative Commons copyright licenses and tools forge a balance inside the traditional “all rights reserved” setting that copyright law creates.’ [1]

As we go through journal applications at DOAJ, we see a lot of confusing and conflicting information on journal web sites. We see and hear examples of authors blithely signing away their copyright to the publisher because their paper has been licensed with a Creative Commons license and they do not check, know how to check, care to check for license/copyright compatibility with the publisher’s copyright form they have signed. It can happen that the terms of the copyright cancel out any licensing terms that allow reuse, distribution and reworking. More commonly, we see CC licenses applied to works which, when combined with the publisher’s copyright, actually exclude the author.

CC licenses can work with commercial licensing arrangements as long as those commercial licenses are not exclusive.

Should it even be the author’s responsibility to check for compatibility? Authors, or librarians working on the authors behalf, look to a journal’s site for information on the terms and conditions of publication but if the information on the site is unclear, then what an author is allowed to do with his/her article and what others are allowed to do with that article becomes a bag of confusing messages, often hidden in the small print.

It is common on journal web sites to see this:

© [Publisher Name]. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons License and all rights remain with the author.

but this may well be a copyright law oxymoron upon closer inspection and, at DOAJ, we do see many of these instances. Also, we see examples where, being asked for the URL of their licensing terms in our application form, publishers provide a link to the copyright line of their web site; we have a problem. While it could be suggested that some publishers deliberately mix copyright terms with licensing conditions in an attempt to hoodwink authors and readers we tend to think that the publishers are, unfortunately, as confused as anyone else.

One of DOAJ’s aims is to persuade journal publishers to state clearly, and in plain language, the terms and conditions of using and publishing in the journal. We want to persuade publishers to adhere to best practices and standards that are universally recognised. We believe that an author, a librarian, a researcher or a user should be able to find all the information that they need to make an informed decision about how they use the journal. This isn’t limited only to copyright and licensing terms but to archiving, APCs, the editorial review process, the instructions for authors, the ownership of the journal and so forth. We believe that all this information should be easily accessible from the journal’s—not the publisher’s—home page and should be presented clearly and always be up-to-date. These “information pages” are often presented, with the best intention in the world, in more than one language yet the translated versions are sometimes inferior in quality and are incomplete. But I digress…

DOAJ’s application form has two very distinct sections for licensing and copyright and asks questions that tease out any licensing terms from those of traditional copyright. Let’s take each section in turn:

Content licensing

This section deals exclusively with how a work can be used, post publication, by anyone who accesses it. Depending on the type of license applied, these terms govern the creator or author of the work too.

Question 45 asks whether or not an article’s license terms are embedded in the content. The importance here isn’t so much on HOW the terms are embedded but that the terms are cemented to the content so that, should the article be read as a solitary item, it is immediately clear to the reader what licensing terms the content has. When up to 75% of a journal web site’s traffic surfs directly to an article from Google, a reader may be totally unaware of a journal’s name, who the publisher is or which volume or issue the article appears in. In an open access journal, the PDF might be downloaded immediately after which the user leaves the site. We believe that the license terms should be available in the content as a clear statement from the publisher to the user. Some good examples of embedded article metadata:

  1. In the HTML as part of the abstract
  2. In the PDF at the end of the full text
  3. In the HTML in a separate section

The Creative Commons web site has an excellent interactive graphic on their site explaining machine readable licenses and how they can be applied. See the ‘Three “Layers” of Licenses’ section.

Question 47 asks if the journal licenses its articles using CC licenses. The form only allows one license to be chosen per journal so if a journals offers more than one license, we ask that the applicant enters the most restrictive. We are seeing more and more examples from publishers where different licenses are available at the article level; we will tackle this in a future update to the application form.

Question 48 asks about other types of licenses that might be available for the journal and only appears if ‘Other’ was selected in Question 47. This is our attempt to capture information about licenses that may have all the attributes (Pardon the Pun!) of a CC license but are not CC licenses by name: some publishers prefer their own licenses and indeed, in some countries, CC licenses are yet to be officially recognised. We consider CC licenses to be the gold standard.

The wording in Question 50 is taken directly from the Budapest Open Access Initiative’s definition of Open Access and forms the backbone of the DOAJ. The words ‘read’, ‘download’, ‘copy’, ‘distribute’ and ‘print’ are also often keywords in public copyright licenses. If a journal does not allow these basic functions, along with printing and linking, then the journal will not be accepted into DOAJ.

Question 51 asks for information on whether or not the licensing terms are registered with a repository that records the policy for the journal. This is a useful thing to do because not only does the journal publicise its licensing terms in a public place but the repository acts as a reference point for authors, librarians and users.

Copyright and Permissions

We have deliberately kept this section short. We are interested in two things only: does the author retain copyright and publishing rights. These questions and their answers are simple and require no further explanation except in the context of the previous section.

Question 52 asks whether the author retains the copyright of his/her work without any restrictions. A simple Yes or No suffices. (We will soon remove the ‘Other’ option as it is redundant.) However, some answers in the licensing terms from the previous section automatically infer that an author retains copyright so why do we ask this again? Because we see incompatible conditions applied to authors’ works and we want to be absolutely certain that this vital piece of information is called out and displayed alongside a journal’s entry in DOAJ. In fact, we think that this question is so important that we have added it as a 7th criteria to our list of Seal criteria. The transfer of copyright is, in our opinion, completely unnecessary and can be a potentially harmful action only serving the purpose of enabling publishers to use these obtained rights to restrict open access in all kinds of innovative ways. To put a barrier against actions that potentially undermine the very principles of Open Access, we decided to add this criteria as a requirement for the DOAJ Seal.

The same goes for Question 54 where conflicts can arise between the terms of a license and the reprints rights of an article. Many publishers make money from reprints and permissions which is why this right is sometimes removed from the author.