May copyrights be transferred?
Yes, copyrights may be transferred entirely or partially. Transfer must be put in writing. To that end, publishers issue 'copyright transfer forms' or 'copyright transfer agreements' to makers. If you transfer your copyright to somebody else, that other person obtains authority over further use of your work. You may however attach conditions to the transfer of your rights.

Does tranfser of my copyright mean I have no say over my work at all anymore?

By transferring your copyright, you tranfser the right to make use (i.e. publish and multiply) your work in the future. But as author you always retain your personal or moral right in relation to your work. You may for example object to somebody changing your work's title, or to someone pretending that you were not the maker. You may also object if you believe your work has been distorted, e.g. through a poor translation or the placement of your text within a very different context.

Must I transfer the copyright to my article if I wish to have it published by a (scientific) publishing firm?
No, full copyright transer is not necessary to have an article published by a publishing firm. You may also grant a license stipulating transfer of certain rights while retaining others.

May I include an article I published earlier in my dissertation as a chapter?
You may if you are still holder of copyright. If you are not, you will have to obtain permission from the copyright holder. This will usually be the journal publisher. Some publishers exlicitly permit authors to (re)use their articles, even if they have transferred their copyright to the publisher. If this is so, it is stated in the 'copyright transfer form'.

May I publish a chapter from my dissertation later in the form of an article?
You may if you are still holder of copyright. Beware however that some journals stipulate an embargo on their articles. This means that prior to publication of the article in the journal, no attention may be paid to the (subject of the) article.

May I have my dissertation published as a monograph by a commercial publishing firm after having placed the digital version on my own website or that of TU/e?
Yes, you may. After all, you still hold the copyright to your dissertation. The commercial publisher however must approve of your prior digital publication on your own website or that of your institution.

What must I do if a commercial publisher demands removal of my dissertation from my own website or that of my institution before publication by that firm?
You may always negotiate with any publishing firm. It depends on your wishes as copyright holder.

Does the firm where I have performed my final or doctoral research have the right to publish my master's thesis or dissertation?
If you haven't made any specific arrangement, the right of publication remains with you as author.
Dissertations and Masters' theses may hold information that requires confidentiality, e.g. if corporate interests could be jeopardized or in view of a patent application. It is therefore important to make the necessary arrangements with the firm before you commence your research.


Latest update: 1 January 2009