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Publishers & copyright

During the DARC workshop on copyright issues held at the African Studies Centre Leiden (ASCL) in Leiden, The Netherlands, on 12 April 2005 the participants (africanists of four Dutch universities and the ASCL) expressed the wish to have a website dedicated to copyright issues in relation to self-archiving in institutional repositories.


Information about the following subjects is available:


Submitting publications
Connecting-Africa provides access to digital resources on Africa by "harvesting" descriptive metadata (records) from institutional repositories using OAI-PMH (the Open Archives Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting). In order to participate fully in Connecting-Africa you are encouraged to submit your research information including working papers, research reports, conference papers, and so on, to your local repository.


Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving
Not sure of the Publishers copyright policy to archiving your journal articles online? Use the Sherpa/RoMEO lists to find a summary of permissions that are normally given as part of each publisher's copyright transfer agreement.


Issues for agreements with publishers
Before signing a contract with your publisher check if you are signing away rights that you later may need.

  • Negotiate with your publisher. Remember, authors are a publisher’s greatest asset. Many publishers will consent to changes in their standard agreement.
  • Consult the SURF-JISC Copyright toolbox. The SURF-JISC Copyright toolbox assists academic authors, Higher Education Institutions and publishers in creating balanced publishing agreements. The toolbox has three entries. The first one is a licence to publish enabling the author to retain copyright but giving the publisher the rights to publish his/her work. The second one gives sample wording for various options in case an author or a publisher would like to amend a publishing agreement in certain circumstances.The last entry refers to initiatives from other organisations or academic institutes have undertaken to maximise access to scholarly publications.
  • Amend the existing licence to read "I hereby grant to the Publisher the exclusive and non-transferable right of first commercial publication, distribution and sale of my final refereed work". You could also add in "For the avoidance of doubt, copyright and all other rights remain with the author." Or make use of the SPARC Author´s Addendum to amend the document that your publisher asks you to sign.
  • Use an alternative licence. For example a Creative Commons licence (see also Creative Commons Nederland). Creative Commons has developed a Web application that helps people dedicate their creative works to the public domain — or retain their copyright while licensing them as free for certain uses, on certain conditions.
  • Choose journals which offer non-exclusive licences.
  • Choose journals with user-friendly licences. Check the Sherpa/RoMEO database for a list of publishers allowing authors to self-archive.
  • Publish your article in an open access journal. The Directory of Open Access Journals lists more than 1600 open access peer-reviewed journals of which some get impressive impact factors, as measured by ISI. Journals published by BioMed Central, for example, have ISI impact factors that compare well with equivalent subscription titles, with five titles being in the top five of their fields of specialization. Have a look at the list of Open Access Journals on Africa.


CERES rating system
CERES (the coordinating body for development oriented research in the Netherlands) has developed a balanced system of research time valuation, that fits the broad social science cultures in which CERES members participate. CERES uses seven major categories of publication rating: for books and journals A-E, for successful PhD graduations P, and for reports R. In addition other activities are also taken into account. To consult the CERES rating list click here.

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