Open access and copyright

Copyright policies that apply to your publication can be found in the publishing agreement you signed, which may be called an Exclusive Licence or Copyright Transfer Agreement.

There will usually be copyright information on the publisher's website (on a 'for authors' page) or try the Sherpa Romeo database which lists most standard policies and how they affect full-text deposit. Most publishers will allow you to deposit your author accepted version (post-print), after peer review but before the publisher’s formatting is applied.

Digital Research staff will use the Sherpa Romeo database to check publishers' standard copyright policies, any restrictions such as embargo periods or conditions such as linking to publisher websites. The University will meet these conditions for you before making articles publicly available.

Copyright and articles

Whether you own copyright to your articles will depend on the agreement you have signed with your publisher. For more information on author's rights and retaining copyright please see the Versions Toolkit to help you consider copyright for all potential research outputs. The SPARC Author Rights Initiative is also a useful source of information.

Third-party copyright

If the copyright on any of the material you deposit, e.g. illustrations, is owned by others, then you are responsible for ensuring you have the permission of the copyright holder, or that the inclusion of this third party copyright material can be considered ‘fair use’.


Some publishers will have a restriction on when an author version of an article can be made openly available after it has been deposited in a repository. This is often 6 to 12 months after publication, and will normally be mentioned in your copyright agreement. You should consider if the publisher’s embargo period is compatible with a funder’s requirement for open access.

You should deposit your author accepted manuscript immediately, and the Open Access team will set the appropriate embargo.