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Research integrity

A guide outlining Library support available to Researchers and HDRs on aspects of research integrity.

Copyright and author rights in Open Access publishing


Open access publishing exists within the existing copyright system. You must adhere to copyright legislation and obligations if making a manuscript open access, either via open access publishing or self-archiving (for example in the RMIT Research Repository).

Author rights

When publishing in an open access journal, authors generally retain most or all rights to their work.

When publishing in a traditional journal, then the publishing agreement will usually transfer copyright to the publisher.  However, authors may be able to negotiate with the publisher to retain some rights by adding an addendum to the agreement, for example to allow them to deposit a version of the article in the RMIT Research Repository or a preprint repository. 

Search in the SHERPA/RoMEO database to check publisher policies and permissions, including embargo conditions, for self-archiving a version of your publication in an open access or preprint repository.

You may be able use the SPARC Author Addendum to legally modify your publisher's contract to allow you to deposit an accepted manuscript version of your publication in the RMIT Research Repository for open access.

Creative Commons licences and Open Access

What's the difference?

Creative Commons licencing and open access publishing are different concepts, but they can work in tandem to maximise access to and use of your research.

  • Publishing your work as Open Access allows anyone to view it free of charge.
  • A Creative Commons licence sets out further terms about exactly how others can use or adapt your work.

If you apply a Creative Commons licence to your work, you or your publisher still retain copyright. To give up all rights to your work, you can place it in the Public Domain.


Creative Commons logosChoosing a Creative Commons licence

If choosing a Creative Commons licence, think about how you would like others to be able to use your work.

Many open access journals will automatically apply a Creative Commons licence to your published work, or will give you the choice to do so.

There are a variety of internationally recognised licences which determine exactly how your work can be shared or resused under copyright law.

Image: "Creative Commons logos" by Creative Commons is licensed under CC BY 4.0

Some publishers may offer their own user licences which allow some degree of open access for your work.

Other considerations