Authors Rights and Copyright

In today’s complicated world of scholarly publishing it’s important that all authors understand the rights they have and how they can preserve them to ensure they can freely distribute their works.


What is Copyright?

All authors need to be aware that Copyright is composed of a number of rights which work together.

These rights include

  1. the right to reproduce the work
  2. the right to prepare derivative works based on the original
  3. the right to distribute copies to the public
  4. the right to perform the work publicly
  5. the right to display the work publicly



Your Authors Rights and Publishing

When publishing a scholarly work, either a book or a journal article, it is not necessary to sign away all of your rights as an author to a publisher.

Traditionally Publishers want ALL of the author copyright transferred to them however they DO NOT need all of the rights

As an author you are allowed to license the specific rights to publishers that are necessary them to publish your book or journal article.

To learn more about Author Copyright and how to unbundle your rights for publication you can view the Copyright and author rights Powerpoint presentation on the ACRL website. This provides a brief overview of their rights as authors.

To learn about how to negotiate with publishers to preserve your rights go to the SPARC's Author Addenda site. This provides examples and guidance on how to use an author addendum to preserve your rights when negotiating with a publisher.


Publishers policies regarding copyright

Below are examples of publisher policies from some top journals that CSHL authors commonly publish in

For a more extensive list of publisher policies please see the publisher policies page in our Author Rights and Copyright libguide


Nature: NPG does not require authors of original (primary) research papers to assign copyright of their published contributions. Authors grant NPG an exclusive licence to publish, in return for which they can reuse their papers in their future printed work without first requiring permission from the publisher of the journal.

For more information go to

Cell: Authors transfer copyright to Elsevier as part of a journal publishing agreement if not electing to pay an open access publishing fee, but have the right to:

  1. Share their article for Personal Use, Internal Institutional Use and Scholarly Sharing purposes, with a DOI link to the version of record on ScienceDirect (and with the Creative Commons CC-BY-NC- ND license for author manuscript versions)
  2. Retain patent, trademark and other intellectual property rights (including raw research data).
  3. Proper attribution and credit for the published work.

For more information go to

Science: Science requires that, before manuscript acceptance, authors sign a license agreement granting AAAS exclusive rights to use and authorize use of their contribution. The authors retain copyright as well as rights to make certain uses of the work.

For more information go to

PNAS: As a PNAS author, you and your employing institution or company retain extensive rights for use of your materials and intellectual property. You retain these rights and permissions without having to obtain explicit permission from PNAS, provided that you cite the original source.

For more information go to

Genes and Development: Authors of articles published by CSHL Press retain copyright on their articles (except for US Government employees) but grant Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press exclusive right to publish the articles. This grant of rights lasts for six months following full-issue publication for all non-Open Access articles and includes the rights to publish, reproduce, distribute, display, and store the article in all formats; to translate the article into other languages; to create adaptations, summaries, extracts, or derivations of the article; and to license others to do any or all of the above. Authors of articles can reuse their articles in their work as long as the journal is credited as the place of original publication.

For more information go to

Journal of Neuroscience: Copyright of all material published in The Journal of Neuroscience remains with the authors. The authors grant the Society for Neuroscience an exclusive license to publish their work for the first 6 months. After 6 months the work becomes available to the public to copy, distribute, or display under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0) license.

For more information go to

PLoS: PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works we publish. This license was developed to facilitate open access – namely, free immediate access to, and unrestricted reuse of, original works of all types. Under this license, authors agree to make articles legally available for reuse, without permission or fees, for virtually any purpose. Anyone may copy, distribute or reuse these articles, as long as the author and original source are properly cited.

For more information or information about journals not listed here you can contact the Library via our webchat, Library Help email, by phone or in person at the Library.

Licensed Electronic Resources

The Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library provides electronic resources (e.g., Journals, Books, or Abstracting databases) to support the instructional, research and service activities of CSHL staff and students. These resources are purchased or leased by the Library either directly or through consortia and are governed by license and contract agreements. Each license or contract, whether purchased individually or as a group, contains strict guidelines on the use of the resource.


Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory does not permit the illegal downloading and/or sharing of copyrighted material in any form or manner. Electronic resources are copyrighted and are subject to all applicable copyright and database protection rights under the laws of the United States and other countries. All utilizations of these products including downloading, printing or creating copies of content from these resources must be consistent with existing "fair use" law as defined by the copyright law of the United States (Title 17, U.S. Code).

License Agreements and Contracts

Each electronic resource subscribed to or purchased includes a license agreement or contract that details permissions and restrictions on use. Common restrictions include, but are not limited to:

  • Materials may be used for scholarly, educational and/or scientific research purposes; any selling, distributing, licensing, or renting of materials for commercial uses is prohibited.
  • Materials may be used by authorized users only. Authorized users include Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory researchers, staff and students and those who have been allowed access to the Library's computer workstations.
  • Authorized users may download, store on a PC (or other storage device), or print single copies of documents from the resource for his/her own non-commercial use, provided user maintains all copyright and other notices contained in such material.
  • Systematic and/or substantial downloading or reproduction of materials is prohibited. Only a reasonable number of records, articles or chapters may be downloaded for personal use. Use of Web crawlers, robots, or any other software packages or systematic searching tools or programs is forbidden.
  • Any proprietary and/or copyright notices, author attribution or disclaimers on the materials may not be deleted or modified.

Access Privileges

Individuals who do not comply with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Library’s electronic resource licensing agreements/contracts will have their library access suspended.

Inappropriate use of materials may result in blocked access to the resources for all CSHL users.

Access to the Library

The CSHL Library is open to all Laboratory staff and students, as well as meeting and course participants. Library branches in other buildings may not be accessible after hours. Please contact library staff if you need a book or journal and cannot get to the library you need.
The Library is open to visitors from outside the Laboratory by appointment only.  Please contact Mila Pollock, (516)367-8493 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Circulation / Borrowing Policy

Policies on Borrowing Library Materials

Books and Collections That Must Be Used in the Library

Archives and Special Collections materials may only be used in the library and only by appointment.  For more information, please send an email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or call 516-367-8414.

In addition, books in the Reference collection must be used in the library only, as well as books in the Banbury Center library.

Other Special Materials

Library staff will retrieve On Reserve books for you, which may be borrowed.  Courses books may be borrowed when not in use by a course.  Also, you may request a book or books to be held for you to pick up at the Library.

Circulating Collections

In general, the loan period for lendable materials is four weeks, but you may request renewals.  If you'd like to borrow books from the other libraries (Delbruck, Demerec, Keck, James, Beckman), please fill in your name and the date on the book card (inside back cover) and drop the card in the library's card box (there's a box in each library), so that we and other patrons know that the book is not missing.  We check the boxes regularly.

Please contact Paula Abisognio for further information, if you have questions, or if you'd like us to hold books for you (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., ext.This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it."> 8479, room 108).


Job openings at the CSHL Library and Archvies are listed by CSHL Human Resources.

Account numbers

Some Interlibrary Loan (ILL) requests and requests for a PIN to use the Library copying machines require that you provide us with a grant or account number to charge. Please contact Gail Sherman (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or ext. 8352 or ILL Office in Library basement by the back door) to get a PIN or request an ILL

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Contact the Library

Phone: +1 516.367.6872
Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Our librarians are here to assist you, whether you need to research a particular topic, obtain an article or book by inter-library loan, make color copies, or use any of the other services offered by the CSHL Library.