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Open Research


Copyright is just one of a bundle of rights which make up Intellectual Property (IP). IP rights (IPR) help to ensure that a work is not used without the permission of the rights holder. In most cases the first copyright holder is the author of the work. According to the University of Cambridge IPR Policy all forms of intellectual property that do not require registration, such as copyright in literary works and software, belong to the creator, subject to any ownership or licensing or publication provisions in agreements the creator may have agreed to previously, e.g. in research grants or sponsorships or collaboration agreements, or the copyright works have been created for the administrative or managerial purposes of the University or commissioned by the University, e.g. examination papers, library catalogues, special reports on policy or management.

The rights of the author can be divided into two groups – moral and economic.

The moral rights of an author

  • the right of paternity (to be identified as the author of the work)
  • the right of integrity (for the author to prevent any derogatory treatment of their work)
  • the right to object to false attribution (not to have something they did not create attributed to them)
  • the right to privacy (to be able to withhold certain films or photographs)

Economic rights include the right:

  • to copy the work
  • to issue copies of the work to the public
  • to rent or lend the work to the public
  • to perform, show or play the work in public
  • to communicate the work to the public
  • to make an adaptation of the work or to do any of the above in relation to an adaptation

The author of the work retains the moral rights but may choose to give away the economic rights, for example by publishing in a journal. At this point the author typically signs a publishing agreement which transfers the economic rights to the publisher. This is an important issue to consider when it comes to making work available via open access in compliance with certain funder’s requirements. It should be noted that most journals give permission for authors to upload a pre-publication version of their work available under open access. If you have any questions or concerns around this then please contact the Open Access team.

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