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Copyright and open access

When someone publish their work open access, they allow for others to read, download, copy and share that work. The work is still protected by copyright and made available under an open license. The Creative Commons (CC) system is the most common way to license open access to scholarly communications.

A creator automatically holds copyright to a work they have created. Swedish copyright law grants creators a strong protection even when the work is published open access.  

It is important to always read publishing agreements carefully before signing, to be properly informed on which rights are affected and possibly transferred when publishing. The University Legal Affairs Office can help with legal and juridical issues. The moral rights to a work - the right to be recognised as its creator - cannot be transferred.  

There are several aspects to consider when choosing how and under what license to publish, some of which relates to  possible prerequisites, for example expectations from research funders. 

More on: Copyright when publishing

Copyright and Creative Commons

The Creative Commons (CC) license system is often used in open access publishing and build on regular copyright laws. CC licenses are internationally viable and apply relative to the copyright law applicable within the respective countries. 

A non-exclusive, irrevocable agreement is established when a work is assigned a CC license, clarifying how others may use the work without them having to contact anyone to get permission to use it. The fact that it is non-exclusive means that the creator/copyright holder still can enter into other agreements regarding the work.

The creator always retain the moral rights to the work, that is to say, the right to be acknowledged as its creator - unless they explicitly choose to waive those rights.

When a work is published open access with a publisher, they usually manage the licensing administration. It is possible to assign a CC license to your own work. Before doing so, it is important to find out what rights are needed in order to license a work, if you have those rights, and how the CC system works:

Get a CC license (CC)

Considerations for licensors and licensees (CC wiki)

Learn more about Creative Commons licences

The library offers an online course on Creative Commons licences in scholarly publishing. The course is free, online, and completely open, following the MOOC concept (massive open online course).

Link to the course

Open online course: Creative Commons licences in scholarly publishing

More information on Creative Commons

Different ways to publish open access

Open access journals

Open access journal or platform - open access from the start.

Parallel publishing

Parallel publishing - to make a copy of a published work accessible through an open archive.

Hybrid publishing

Hybrid publishing - open access as an option.

This information is factual only and not to be considered legal advice. Contact the university legal advisors at the Vice-Chancellor's office if legal advice is needed.

Vice-Chancellor's Office

Latest update: 2023-06-02