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Research Guides@Tufts

Student Publications at Tufts

Copyright Overview

What is copyright?

Copyright is a form of legal protection for authors of original works conferred the moment the work is created.  It includes the right to (and, authorize others to) make copies and prepare derivative works from the original, as well as distribute, perform, and display the work publicly.

See Copyright: Scholarly Communication @Tufts for more information.

Do I hold the copyright for work I create while at Tufts?

Faculty and students generally own the copyright to work they produce. Tufts does retains the copyright to work created by staff, including students if university employees, as part of their assigned duties.

This means that students hold copyright for their submissions of articles, artwork, poetry, stories, etc., to student publications. In order to ensure that both student contributors and the publications have the rights they need to publish the work, we encourage student publications to create an author's agreement. Read more about author's agreements below.

See Tufts Policy on Rights and Responsibilities with Respect to Intellectual Property for more information.

Author Agreements

When an author submits work to a publication, the publisher and the author can lay out an agreement detailing how the work can be used and who owns the copyright on the work. It's best practice for publications to have an agreement like this so that both the publication and the author are fully aware of their rights.

Suggested text for author's agreements

If you're developing an author's agreement for your publication, below is some suggested text for author agreements where the author retains their copyright and licenses some rights directly to the publication and Tufts University in order to be able to showcase and preserve the work:

By submitting my work to [PUBLICATION], I hereby grant a non-exclusive, royalty-free license, throughout the world and in perpetuity, to Tufts University and [PUBLICATION] to reproduce, display, print, and otherwise publish the submitted work, and to create derivative works, including abstracts and edited versions thereof. I understand that I will retain title and ownership of any intellectual property rights in my work. By submitting this work, I warrant that the work does not infringe on the copyrights of third parties, nor contain libelous, defamatory, or unlawful material.

Full sample agreement:  Michigan Publishing Model Journal Publishing Agreement - Author Copyright

Copyright statements and licensing

The author's agreement can also allow authors to apply a Creative Commons license to their work. This license allows the author to keep copyright but grant specific permission for how others can use the work, encouraging further scholarship. Read more about Creative Commons licenses below.

Sample copyright statement (applying a Creative Commons license) on article: 

© <authors name – this makes it clear the copyright remains with the author>. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons License XX (include link), which permits [include here permissions under this license].

Creative Commons Licenses

If the publication is available open access, the author (who retains their copyright) may apply a Creative Commons license to the article as well in order to encourage sharing & reuse. Creative Commons licenses:

  • specify how a work can be used, in ways that generally promote sharing
  • are non-revocable and non-exclusive, i.e., the license cannot be removed or changed, but the copyright holder may license additional rights on a case by case basis

Creative Commons licenses can include the following terms:

  • Attribution | BY |
  • ShareAlike | SA |
    • All new works based on the original must carry the same license as the original.  Derivative works must also be allowed.
  • NoDerivs | ND |
    • No changes can be made to the original, including remixing, tweaking, editing, translating, and building upon it.
  • NonCommercial | NC |
    • The work cannot be monetized.

The licenses are:

Creative Commons Licenses

"Creative Commons" by Foter, licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 / Excerpted from larger infographic

The Creative Commons License Chooser can help determine the most appropriate license for your use.

See Creative Commons: About the Licenses for more information.