Author’s Rights

As an author, it is important to know that there may be limitations on what you can physically do with scholarly work you created once it is published.
In efforts to protect UNC faculty’s rights and to promote the scholarship conducted at UNC, the university created preventative measures removing its employer copyright ownership for its staff:

  • UNC’s Faculty Council passed a resolution in 2005 stating, “Be it resolved that UNC-Chapel Hill faculty are the owners of their research and should retain ownership and use open access publication venues whenever possible.”
  • The Copyright Policy of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill since 2009 aims to balance the needs of the University to use employee work to fulfill its core mission with faculty expectations that they be compensated when their works are commercialized.

Because the idea of “I wrote it, I can do what I want with it” often is not automatic, below we aim to elucidate how to check your current publications, and suggest tips to gain these rights in your future publications. With further questions, please contact Anne Gilliland, Scholarly Communications Officer at Davis Library (

Know Your Rights, Get Your Rights!

Customarily, academic authors have often assigned their copyright to publishers. Recently, however, many authors have sought more long-term control over the copyright in the works they have created. They may want the flexibility to make their work openly available, either for educational purposes or for general readership. They may want to allow others to reuse their work in certain situations. The best way to keep that control and flexibility is by reading, understanding, and saving a copy of the publishing contract.