Policy on Publications

The following policy applies to publications made by members of the School, or based on work carried out within the School, apart from cases where publication is for a fee:
  1. When asked to assign rights on a publication to another party, a member of the School should not give away the author's or the University's rights to re-use the material for non-commercial purposes. There should be no requirement for consultation if the author or the University wishes to exercise these rights.
  2. Co-authors and supervisors of authors who are not members of the School should ensure that the rights of authors and University mentioned in (1) are retained. This means that they should not allow their co-authors to give away these rights.

Advice to authors

The above does not state what the authors' or the University's rights are, merely that any existing rights should not be signed away. The rights may already be restricted in certain cases, for instance when the University has given specific undertakings to a sponsor of the work reported. An author should consult with their Service Manager before coming to an agreement with a publisher, in order to ensure that the above policy is followed. It is important to realise that it is possible to amend the offered terms of an agreement with a publisher before signing, for instance by deleting certain passages or adding an extra clause such as: "provided that the the authors' and the University of Edinburgh's rights to re-use the material for non-commercial purposes without further consultation are retained" Although this is up to the authors, it is possible to assign copyright to another party and yet have these rights for non-commercial use retained as long as this condition is made clear. In the past, in the vast majority of cases such amendments to agreements with publishers have gone unchallenged. Where such an amendment to a proposed agreement is disputed, very often the fact that the author is NOT ALLOWED TO sign away these rights is a strong argument to be used. This fact can be certified in a letter from the Head of School if necessary. The Service Manager will be able to advise on a form of words to use in the agreement and then take on any negotiation necessary with the publisher. 


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