Notes on copyright

It is important to understand who owns the copyright in any publication which a depositor intends to deposit.


  1. The ownership of copyright may be complicated and needs to be established before material is deposited. Copyright may be owned by UWE Bristol, by a UWE Bristol employee, by one or more third party (e.g. a funder or collaborator) or by a combination of these. The position will be governed by:
    • The Copyright,Designs and Patents Act 1988 as amended
    • A contract of employment
    • The UWE Bristol IP policy (details below)
    • Any agreements relating to the material to be deposited.
  2. Scholarly Works may be excluded from ownership by UWE Bristol only if they:
    • Comply with the definition of scholarly works found in paragraph 4.2 of the UWE Bristol Intellectual Property Policy and Regulations
    • AND

    • Fall outside the exclusions found in the same paragraph and the rest of this policy.

The Policy and Regulations can be found on the UWE Bristol website at and

Publishing agreements

  1. In the case where an author wishes to publish material not subject to any other copyright claims the copyright in the material belongs to the author until they enter into an agreement with a publisher.
  2. Most copyright transfer agreements with publishers are 'exclusive', meaning that the author may not publish the work anywhere else (which includes repositories) without the permission of the publisher. Before submitting material for publication an author therefore will need to consider whether any agreement has already been signed with any publishers.
  3. Fortunately, most publishers will permit authors to deposit a copy of their work in an institutional repository, though there are usually conditions. The author needs to check the publisher's policy and then, if necessary, seek permission. Letter templates are available for seeking permission from publishers.
  4. In the case of journal articles, checking the publisher's policy is relatively easy. The JISC-funded SHERPA RoMEO service summarises the permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement. Most publishers will not permit the use of the published version in a repository, though a few prefer the use of this version.
  5. The version usually required is the "author's final" or "accepted" version (sometimes known as a "post-print") which is the author-created version sent to the publisher post-refereeing. Occasionally, the "submitted" version (sometimes known as a "pre-print") is required, which is the version sent to the publisher before refereeing.
  6. Sometimes the publisher sets an embargo period (often 12 months) before the item can be made publicly available. The repository has a facility for dealing with this; specifying an embargo period is part of the deposit process.

Third-party rights

  1. The author also needs to check that third party rights (for example in images) are not being infringed. The agreement reached with the third party in relation to publication may not extend to use in a repository.


  1. If there is more than one author, it is essential to check with co-authors before depositing.


  1. Authors are asked to sign a declaration that rights have not been infringed before depositing. Repository staff will also check the position and will liaise with authors if there are difficulties.
  2. The Repository operates a 'take-down' policy. In the event of a complaint being made about an item in the Repository, the item will be removed immediately pending investigation.

Developments in scholarly communication

Scholarly communication is a constantly evolving field, and some authors may wish to consider alternatives to the conventional copyright transfer agreement. Some important developments are:

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