Author Addenda


What is an author addendum?

An author addendum is a legally-binding document used to modify the terms of a journal/publisher's Copyright Transfer Agreement.

While an author is able to create any type of addendum if he/she would like to request modifications to the standard agreement, the most common use of an addendum is to request the retention of expanded rights to share the author's published work.


Where do I get an author addendum?

The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) has created a standard addendum that may be used by faculty/authors across any disciplines (and with any publication).  It is a simple matter to complete the addendum and attach it to the publisher's CTA before submitting it.



    1.  Complete the addendum.

    2.  Print a copy of the addendum and attach it to your publishing agreement.

    3.  Note in a cover letter to your publisher that you have included an addendum to the


    4.  Mail the addendum with your publishing agreement and a cover letter to your publisher.



What if the journal/publisher doesn't accept the terms of the addendum?

Science Commons (which also provides a standard addendum for use), offers an excellent response to this question:

"If the publisher refuses to publish your article under the terms of the Addendum, you have some choices to make. Under copyright law, you, the author, have the exclusive rights to reproduce, distribute, display, perform, and make derivative works from your article. The publisher needs a signed agreement from you for the publisher to obtain any or all of these exclusive rights. If the publisher does not sign the Addendum but publishes the article anyway, the Addendum specifies that such publication is an acceptance of the terms of the Addendum.

If the publisher refuses to sign the Addendum and refuses to publish the article unless you sign the publisher’s agreement without the Addendum, you have to make a decision about whether this is the right publisher for you.

By sending the Addendum you have communicated to the publisher that you care about managing your copyright and think that one of the Science Commons Author’s Addenda reflects a fair balance between your interests and the publisher’s. If the publisher disagrees, find out which terms of the Addendum the publisher objects to most. Some publishers may be willing to agree to some modifications to their standard agreements.

If the publisher’s position is take-it-or-leave-it with respect to the publisher’s standard agreement, consider what alternative publications would be willing to enter into a fair copyright agreement for your article. Speak with your colleagues, your department chair, and/or your Dean about the choice you face. Consider what the standing of your article would be if you accept an offer from an Open Access journal. If you choose to publish elsewhere, make sure that you keep copies of your correspondence with a journal that refused to accept the Addendum for purposes of subsequent personnel evaluation."