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  1. Thanks to an answer on academia.stackexchange, I have come across this addendum to journal copyright transfer agreements suggested by SPARC.

    It looks well written and polished from the legal point of view, at least from a layman’s eye. I see it’s from 2006 though. Is it still used? (or: has it ever been used?) Do you consider it a valid tool? Has it been superseded by anything better? Has anyone had experience using it with any of the major publishers?

    • CommentRowNumber2.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2013
    • (edited Apr 24th 2013)

    I know that some big publishers will not consider addenda.

    This is from Elsevier’s) generic copyright transfer.

    Revisions and addenda I understand that no revisions, additional terms or addenda to this Agreement can be accepted without the Copyright Owner’s express written consent.

    Note: authors at institutions that place restrictions on copyright assignments or that assert an institutional right to distribute or provide access to the works of institutional authors, must obtain an express waiver from those institutions releasing the author from such restrictions to enable the acceptance of this publishing agreement.

    So if your institution has a policy that you are not allowed to give away your copyright, you need an express waiver, allowing you to give away your copyright to Elsevier before they will accept to publish your paper.

    The generic copyright transfer form for Springer doesn’t have such a restriction. But note that you can only put the paper on the arXiv before publication, or else wait a year after publication before doing so.

    • CommentRowNumber3.
    • CommentAuthorHenry Cohn
    • CommentTimeApr 24th 2013

    My impression (possibly mistaken) is that when amendments first became popular, they were often effective. Incoming copyright forms were typically processed by an administrative assistant who didn’t know or care about these issues and wouldn’t pay any attention to addenda, so you could get away with nearly anything. By now, publishers are paying attention and one has to convince them to approve addenda. It’s not impossible, but it requires a genuine discussion.

    Incidentally, I’m not a fan of the SPARC addendum. One issue is the “non-commercial” clause. What “non-commercial” means is very difficult to pin down, and this sort of ambiguity is a bad thing in contracts. To the extent it means anything, how is university teaching in the U.S. non-commercial? (After all, students are paying tuition, which supports the teacher’s salary, and this is a commercial transaction in which teaching is sold for money.) Does this affect including a paper in a course pack of photocopied papers?

  2. @DavidRoberts: concerning Springer, if we read the paragraph after the one where the one year moving wall is established for repositories, then it seems that when a paper has been deposited on the arXiv prior to submission, it can be updated to the refereed author manuscript right at acceptation. So, unless I am misreading things, it seems to matter to put papers on the arXiv beforehand, something I didn’t know.

  3. @HenryCohn

    Incidentally, I’m not a fan of the SPARC addendum. One issue is the “non-commercial” clause.

    Good point. Do you have an alternative addendum to suggest? Is there a commonly used one nowadays?

    • CommentRowNumber6.
    • CommentAuthorScott Morrison
    • CommentTimeApr 25th 2013

    @federico, I’m pretty sure there are no commonly used addenda in mathematics.

    • CommentRowNumber7.
    • CommentAuthorspitters
    • CommentTimeApr 30th 2013
    • CommentRowNumber8.
    • CommentAuthorDavidRoberts
    • CommentTimeMay 2nd 2013

    Some of the comments at the link Bas gives is out of date, since we know that Elsevier refuse in the wording of their copyright form to accept addenda. For example:

    A publisher won’t accept the terms of an Addendum, will it?

    It depends. Anecdotal evidence from a variety of sources reveals that many scholarly authors have had success over the years in altering the terms of a publication agreement. Sometimes this has been done by marking up the publisher’s agreement; other times the change has been done through use of an addendum. However, we are not aware of any statistical data concerning the success rate.

    What if the publisher withdraws acceptance of the article after I send in an Addendum?

    We are aware of no instance in which a publisher has refused to publish an article where the author sought to retain some non-exclusive rights to the article.