author rights

Authorship of a scientific article is associated with certain intellectual property rights, protected within the framework of copyright laws. The details of such laws vary between one jurisdiction and another, although they are normally accommodated satisfactorily by traditional practices in scientific publishing. With new approaches to publication, including preprint publication, self-archiving and open-access dissemination, new practices are arising with respect to copyright and licensing arrangements. On this page we provide details of the rights of an author who publishes in an IUCr journal.

Under the most widespread international agreement, the Berne Convention, copyright in an article automatically belongs to the creator or creators of the article, except for works performed 'for hire', in which case the employer or funding body may own the copyright in the work. Whether authors publish their article behind a paywall or as an open-access article, the IUCr does not require authors to transfer copyright. Instead, we offer authors the option to agree either a licence to publish or a CC-BY open-access licence.

Author rights prior to acceptance

Although authors retain full rights over their article prior to its acceptance for publication, there is a normal standard of good behaviour to safeguard the journal's investment of resources in peer review, and the confidentiality of the submitted article while it is in an unfinished form. Therefore, provided the authors acknowledge that the article has been submitted for publication in an IUCr journal, they may:

  • share print or electronic copies of the article with colleagues;
  • post an electronic version of the article on their personal website, their employer's website/repository and on free public servers (including preprint servers) in their subject area.

Author rights after acceptance

Licence to publish

Authors agreeing to a licence to publish will not be asked to transfer copyright to the IUCr. Under the licence, the IUCr handles direct requests by third parties to re-use the article in whole or in part.

Note that for a multi-author article, only one author need agree to the licence to publish, but that agreement is on behalf of all named authors. It is the responsibility of the author who submits the article to obtain the consent of fellow authors to act as their agent in this respect.

Authors retain the right to re-use the article, as long as it is not sold or reproduced, in whole or in part, for commercial purposes, i.e. for monetary gain on the authors' account or on that of a third party, or for indirect financial gain by a commercial entity.

Provided that a full bibliographic reference to the article as published in an IUCr journal is made, authors may, without without needing to seek permission from the IUCr:

  • Share print or electronic copies of the article with colleagues.
  • Use all or part of the article and abstract, without revision or modification, in theses and/or dissertations, in personal compilations or other publications of their own work (and may receive a royalty or other payment for such work).
  • Use the article within their employer's institution or company for educational or research purposes, including use in course packs.
  • Post a copy of the author accepted manuscript on their own personal website, on their employer's website/repository and on not-for-profit repositories in their subject area. The site must give full attribution to the article and must provide a permanent link from the posting to the final published article on the IUCr website. A CC-BY licence may be applied to the author accepted manuscript, as required by some funders.
  • Post an authorised electronic reprint of the article on their own personal website, on their employer's website/repository and on not-for-profit repositories in their subject area. The site must give full attribution to the article and must provide a permanent link from the posting to the final published article on the IUCr website.
In the above, the author accepted manuscript is the version of the manuscript that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication, but does not include any corrections made during technical editing and production of the article. In contrast, the authorised electronic reprint is based on the final published version of the article as it appears in the journal. It is automatically made available to authors upon publication of their article, or may subsequently be requested from the IUCr. It includes a cover sheet displaying the full bibliographic reference of the published article and conditions of re-use, and is overstamped with an 'electronic reprint' watermark. Where possible, we recommend posting of the authorised electronic reprint.

Open access

Authors of open-access articles will not be asked to transfer copyright to the IUCr, but will instead be asked to agree to an open-access licence. This licence is a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) Licence, which provides for the re-use of the article in whole or part provided there is attribution for the article.

Supplementary materials and supporting data

It is the practice of IUCr journals to provide free access to all supplementary materials and supporting data files deposited with a published article. Licencing of supplementary materials that represent an author's creative work (e.g. mathematical appendices, extended discussion, additional figures) follows that of the primary article. Copyright protection is not extended to files of scientific data (e.g. structural data CIFs, structure factors, primary diffraction images), and such data sets may be used freely for bona fide research purposes within the scientific community so long as proper attribution is given to the source from which they were obtained.

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