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Digital Commons @ OWU

Publishing Agreements

  • Publishing agreements describe the ways in which and conditions under which you vest one, some, or all of your bundled rights over your work to a publisher to get your work published.  Journals and other publishers usually request rights via these agreements in accordance with their posted policies on copyright and author sharing.
  • However, a publisher agreement may request more control over your work than is necessary for its publication:
    • Right of first publication
    • Embargo period with exclusivity based on time or print run
    • Right to publish and disseminate (exclusive or non-exclusive)

Before Publication

  • As you prepare your work for publication with a journal or other outlet, know that your bundle of rights does not need to be surrendered whole cloth to get your work out there
  • Think about ways you may want to use your work in the future:
    • What channels you may want it to be accessible in, such as Digital Commons @ OWU or a personal website
    • What other uses you may have for the work in your future scholarship
  • Publishers can and do negotiate boilerplate agreement language
  • Addenda can be added to agreements that provide the author with more control over published work
  • Shop around journals in your field and review their posted copyright and open access policies (JISC's SHERPA/RoMEO database is a great tool for this).

After Publishing

  • If you want to use a published work of yours, but transferred rights in a previous publishing agreement, you can:
    • Request permission for those rights from the publisher
    • Review the publisher’s current author sharing policies and compare to the terms of your agreement
    • Consider fair use exclusions on copyright protection that may enable your use


Authors interested in submitting scholarly articles to Digital Commons @ OWU may be permitted by their publishers to contribute specific versions of the published work to the repository.  Doing so allows you to reach the widest audience possible.  Below are descriptions of the commonly mentioned versions in publishing agreements and open access policies:


Preprint preprint is the original version of your article that you wrote and submitted to the journal. Other terms: Author's Original Manuscript (AOM), Author's Original (AO), Submitted Version
Postprint postprint is a version of your article after peer-review but before the final publisher formatting. It should not look like the final version. It is typically a Word document. Other terms: Accepted Manuscript, Author's Accepted Manuscript, AM
Publisher PDF publisher PDF is the final, published version of your article with all of the publisher formatting. It will likely contain headers, footers, page numbers, typesetting, etc. Other terms: Version of Record (VoR), Published Version, Published Article, Final Version, Final Published Version

Where necessary, Digital Commons @ OWU records can specify the version of the journal article submitted to the repository and link to the published version on a publisher's site.