RoMEO Studies 4: an analysis of Journal Publishers’ Copyright Agreements

This article is the fourth in a series of six emanating from the UK JISC-funded RoMEO Project (Rights Metadata for Open archiving). It describes an analysis of 80 scholarly journal publishers’ copyright agreements with a particular view to their effect on author self-archiving. 90% of agreements asked for copyright transfer and 69% asked for it prior to refereeing the paper. 75% asked authors to warrant that their work had not been previously published although only two explicitly stated that they viewed self-archiving as prior publication. 28.5% of agreements provided authors with no usage rights over their own paper. Although 42.5% allowed self-archiving in some format, there was no consensus on the conditions under which self-archiving could take place. The article concludes that author-publisher copyright agreements should be reconsidered by a working party representing the needs of both parties.