Secondary Publication and Author Rights


Secondary Publication by the University Library

The University Library acquires from some publishers the right to publish articles by members of the University of Potsdam on the publication server as a secondary publication. This entitles the library to make these articles available as Open Access publications.

Even if your publication has already been published at a charge, you may publish it again under certain conditions and make it available online for free, for example on a publication server.

Special requirements apply to secondary publications containing parts that have been published elsewhere (postprints, cumulative dissertations, etc.). Publishers' willingness to agree to a secondary publication may differ. Only the agreement concluded at the time of the primary publication is legally binding. Conditions and deadlines can be found in the agreement or can be searched on Sherpa/RoMEO. If the primary publication appears under an open license, e.g. a CC-BY license, a secondary publication will be possible without difficulty.

We are happy to assist you in clarifying the rights. Contact us if you have any questions.

Secondary Publication by the University Library

The University Library acquires from some publishers the right to publish articles by members of the University of Potsdam on the publication server as a secondary publication. This entitles the library to make these articles available as Open Access publications.


Secondary Publication Rights

Exclusive versus Simple Usage Rights
A secondary publication is possible without restrictions if the author did not grant exclusive, but rather only simple, usage rights to the publisher of the primary publication, or in case the author(s) have expressly reserved the right for a parallel online publication. However, if you have granted exclusive usage rights to a commercial publisher, you can no longer publish your publication on the publication server - unless you have the explicit consent of the publisher.

Terms and Conditions
You can check in the publishing contract whether you have granted exclusive usage rights or not. If you are no longer familiar with the actual terms of the contract, you can also find them in the SHERPA/RoMEO database. In this database you can also find the terms and conditions under which authors may publish their publications online and how much time must have passed until the secondary publication may be published (so-called embargo period). Important to knwo is the difference between preprints (before review) and postprints (after review). The postprints often are also referred to as "final drafts". The final draft corresponds to the final version of the manuscript which has not yet been set in the publisher's layout.

Legal Framework for Secondary Publication Rights
Regardless of the existence of a publishing contract, you may have the right to publish open access due to legal regulations. In this case there are certain basic conditions and rules to be observed for a secondary publication.

According to § 38, section 1 of the German Copyright Act (UrhG), the author may publish his or her work in another journal or series one year after the first publication, unless otherwise agreed in the publishing contract.

Moreover, § 38, section 4 UrhG grants the author of a scientific publication, which is the result of an at least half publicly funded research activity and has appeared in a journal published at least twice a year, the indispensable right to publish the accepted manuscript version online after a twelve-month period. The precondition is that no commercial purpose is pursued with this publication and that the source of the first publication is named.


Protection of Author Rights

Protect Your Rights
If possible, you should not grant exclusive usage rights to a publisher. If you grant exclusive usage rights, you can no longer use your own work to its full extent. For example, you will no longer be able to make your academic work freely accessible online. Instead, you will have to conclude a license agreement with your publisher in order to publish your work in open access. This may be subject to a charge for you. So always make sure you protect your rights in publishing contracts!

Conclude Contracts in Compliance with Open Access
You should preferably publish with publishers whose business model is based on Open Access or who also publish in Open Access journals. If you are publishing with a publisher using a payment model, try to delete restrictive wording such as "grant exclusive rights" from the publishing agreement.

If the publisher insists on the transfer of exclusive rights, try to preserve in the publishing contract at least the right of use for one single Open Access secondary publication and add the following:

The author is free to publish for an unlimited period of time a digital copy of the work in a publicly accessible scholarly non-profit repository before/during/after publication by the publisher.
Date, signature

Or alternatively, in German:
Dem/der Autor*in steht es frei, eine digitale Version des Werkes vor/während/nach der Veröffentlichung durch den Verlag zeitlich unbegrenzt in einem öffentlich zugänglichen wissenschaftlichen Non-Profit-Repositorium zu veröffentlichen.
Datum, Unterschrift


The Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine by Creative Commons provides you with text modules to create a suitable contract addendum.

If the publisher refuses to allow immediate Open Access publication, agree on the shortest possible embargo period (up to one year). Make sure to include the agreement in your publishing contract.

When negotiating a contract, you may argue that the secondary publication will not compete with the publisher's version, but rather increase the overall visibility of the publication and thus serve as additional advertising for the publisher. In addition, the online version on the publication server of the University of Potsdam contains a link to the primary publication as well as a suggestion to cite the publisher's version.