You are here

Copyright Reminder

Copyright and intellectual property issues are a part of the fabric of research and scholarly communications, and thus all Stanford faculty, students and staff need a working understanding of copyright law as it impacts their daily lives. The Copyright Reminder, which highlights common campus copyright concerns and outlines fundamental elements of US copyright law, is distributed annually to ensure that the Stanford community remains aware of those issues.


When publishing, faculty and students need to pay special attention to the rights they have in their publications, and the rights they sign over to the publisher.  Granting agencies, notably the NIH, may have requirements on when and how publications related to grant-funded research must be made available, and these requirements may limit the publication agreements you can sign.  Faculty need to be thoughtful about how they wish to reuse their research in classrooms and with colleagues, and ensure that, in working with publishers, they retain the rights they need to enable that collaboration. 

The rise of the Open Access movement, which aims to make research available online –free of charge, and free of most copyright and licensing restrictions – has resulted in authors of scholarly works having a much wider array of licensing options than they have in the past.  For some authors or publishers, the traditional approach of assigning copyright in an article or book to a publisher may be appropriate.  Options beyond the traditional assignment of all copyright interest to the publisher include:

  • Granting the publisher a license to publish your work, while you retain copyright
  • Publishing in open access journals
  • Assigning copyright to a journal, with a license back from the journal to the author enabling the author to do one or more of the following:
    • post on an institutional website in a PDF format
    • make derivative works
    • make copies for educational purposes
    • allow others to make copies for educational purposes
    • allow the same rights for Stanford/originating institution

One helpful resource is the SHERPA/RoMEO website (, which includes a listing of publishers that allow deposit of articles.

Stanford generally doesn't mandate a copyright position for its community members who publish articles or books, although the School of Education has an Open Access Initiative. However, granting agencies are increasingly requiring that publications based on funded research be made available in an Open Access or similarly accessible format. 

More detailed information on rights issues, and recommendations for working with publishers, can be found here: