Model Language for
Author Rights in Library
Content Licenses
Ivy Anderson, Director of Collections, California Digital Library,
on behalf of the Ad Hoc Working Group on Author-Rights
Language in Library Content Licenses
cademic and research libraries today are increasingly charged with
facilitating the management and dissemination of the scholarly
output of their parent institutions. This activity frequently takes the
form of organizing the deposit of scholarly work such as research articles and
working papers in institutional, national, or subject-based repositories in order
to make these works broadly available to other interested scholars and the wider
public. Authors of scholarly work also increasingly wish to retain significant
rights in the work that they produce rather than transferring all such rights to
an external publisher.
Although these activities and expectations are becoming widespread,
many barriers exist to their straightforward adoption. Not the least among
such barriers is the difficulty in negotiating agreements between authors and
publishers permitting the retention of an appropriate set of rights to support
these activities. Scalable solutions are needed to ensure that a consistent bundle
of rights can be retained by institutionally affiliated authors to support emerging
standards in information dissemination and repository services.
The content licenses that libraries negotiate with publishers offer a ready
vehicle to address this need. Because these agreements exist at the level of the
institution and the publisher, content licenses are well positioned to facilitate
scalable and consistent arrangements for managing research output at the
institutional level. Licenses introduce a degree of efficiency that can make the
necessary rights transactions significantly more economical for all parties.
A number of institutions in recent years have sought to include author self-
archiving rights in the content licenses they negotiate. For example, language
addressing the right of authors to self-archive their work was introduced into the
Joint Information Systems Committee’s “Model NESLi2 Licence for Journals” in
RLI 269
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