Understanding your Publishing Agreement

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Authors and publishers will generally have a publishing agreement (sometimes referred to as an author or licence agreement) in place when a work is published.

Publishing agreements vary between publishers and will also vary depending on whether or not the work is being published as a book, book chapter, journal article or conference paper. Some publishers do not use publishing agreements, in which case, they only have the right to publish the work for the purpose it was submitted. For example, if an author submits an article to a particular journal and there is no agreement in place, the publisher can only publish the article in the issue for which it was submitted. They would not be able to re-publish the article in an annual collection of popular articles without the permission of the author.

The agreement will generally cover information such as when the work will be published; how it will published (in print or online or both); how many copies will be made available etc; if the author is entitled to any royalties, how they will be shared between the author and publisher, when they will be paid etc. The agreement will also address how copyright in the work will be managed.

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