Authors of a paper provided as a pdf file in the Informatics@Edinburgh Publications portal are normally required to fill in a form assigning to the University the non-exclusive right to publish the paper in the portal. (Note that this does not apply to authors choosing the url option, and not providing a pdf file. Nor does it assign copyright to the University or School.) Please print off a copy of this form, fill it in and post it to the address at the bottom. It is understood that the University allows authors to retain non-exclusive rights to further reproduction of the material. Assigning publication rights to the University is seen as a way to protect the non-commercial rights of the authors, because it means that any negotiations on rights with publishers or other bodies can be carried out in a consistent way across the School, with the weight of the University behind them.
A pdf cannot be made available in the Informatics@Edinburgh Publications portal if the author has already assigned exclusive copyright to a publisher or conference. If an author is asked subsequently to assign rights on a paper whose pdf file appears in the portal to a publisher or conference, then the author should ensure that the University retains the rights to make this pdf file available via the portal. For advice about how to ensure that you retain these rights and follow School policy, contact your Service Manager, in the first instance.
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 unacceptable passages or words, or by adding at the appropriate point a word such as "non-exclusive". 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 (and will be the case as the author will have assigned publication rights to the University). Your Service Manager will be able to advise on a form of words to use in the agreement and can then take on any negotiation necessary with the publisher in order to come to a solution appropriate to the particular case. We have collected together some successfully amended exemplar copyright forms. View these forms to see if there is an exemplar from your publisher or one that is similar enough to your publisher's form that it can be used as a model for the amendments you need to make.Alan Bundy
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