The Main Library’s Blog

Sharing your papers legally

6. June 2018 | HBZ | No Comments |

This post is also available in: deDeutsch

How and where can you share your (published) papers and works with other scientists? How can you reach the maximal audience and impact? This blog post will introduce you to a platform that shows your author rights and in what form you are allowed to share your journal articles.

Every year, the number of publications and the number of scientific journals is increasing. In addition, access to scientific publications is not free of charge, but costs a lot of money for scientific libraries. More and more libraries are no longer able to cope with these rising costs for licenses/subscriptions and have to cancel some subscriptions. Conversely, this means that many articles are withheld from such a large readership.

Against this background, the sharing of scientific articles is becoming increasingly important. Which version of the publication may be shared at all, at what time and where, and thus be made Open Access? The answers to these questions can be found in the publishing contracts, which are usually signed after an article has been accepted by a publisher. Understanding these multi-page legal texts is not easy, so the SHERPA/RoMEO database has been around for some time.




The SHERPA/RoMEO database is hosted by the Centre for Research Communications (CRC) at the University of Nottingham and is kept up to date by a range of stakeholders. It provides clear information on copyright and self-archiving of articles. A colour scheme regulates, which version of the publication may be archived.




In addition, other general terms and conditions of the publisher/journal are briefly displayed, such as:

  • where the publication may be archived (pre-print server, Open access repositories, own website, etc.),
  • whether a publication is listed in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and therefore is an Open Access publication,
  • whether there is an embargo period after which the publication may be shown freely and
  • whether any further copyright information on the article must be provided.

Example: Journal of Medicine and the Person by Springer-Nature

In rare cases, no publishing contract is signed with the publication, which allows authors resident in Switzerland to openly deposit journal articles/book chapters in a repository three months after their complete publication. However, the archived version may not contain any publisher logos. This is laid down in the Swiss Civil Code / Swiss Code of Obligations.

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