Resources for Editors of Scholarly Journals: Publication Agreements

Digital Publishing Services at the University of Kansas Libraries have created this guide to assist those thinking of starting a new journal or working with an existing journal. Contact Marianne Reed ( if you have any questions.

Journal-Author Agreements

Publication agreements (sometimes known as copyright transfer agreements) are contracts between a publisher and an author that are signed before an article can be published.   Publication agreements outline the rights and responsibilities of both parties.

Terms in publication agreements can vary from journal to journal, but most publication agreements:

  • Define who owns the copyrights to the article after it is published, or the terms of any license that the author is granting the publisher instead of copyrights.
  • Outline what the author can do with the article after publication: 
    • Using the article in teaching, including inclusion in course packs
    • Making a copy available on a web site or in an institutional repository
    • Reusing content in subsequent articles, or reprinting as a whole as a chapter in a book
  • Specify how requirements of funding mandates (such as those stipulated by NIH and other federal funding agencies) will be carried out.

For more information about publication agreements, we suggest you start with the following: