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Copyright and licenses

Part of good practice in scholarly publishing is that each journal establishes and publishes its own guidelines on copyright and licenses, to clarify the conditions for readers and potential authors.


The financial rights to a publication are sometimes still ceded to a journal or its publisher but, within open access publishing, the most common scenario is that the author maintains the entire copyright, and the journal is given a non-exclusive right to publish the article. For example, the DOAJ recommends that the author retain the copyright.

Regardless of your journal’s choice, its management of copyright should be clearly described in compliance with the Principles of Transparency and Best Practice in Scholarly Publishing.

Creative Commons licenses

To clarify for readers how they may re-use the published material, open access journals usually apply Creative Commons licenses. 

There are several types of CC licenses with different conditions, but all licenses require acknowledgement. This means that the person using the licensed work must always provide a correct acknowledgement to the copyright holder. Thus CC licenses do not mean that the author waives their moral right to the work or the right to be cited. 

The most commonly occurring license for research publications, CC BY, is also the most open. It permits others to use, disseminate, modify and build on a work, even for commercial purposes, on condition that correct acknowledgement is given.
To find out which license suits you best, you can read more about each license on the Creative Commons website or use their tool to choose a license. The National Library of Sweden also has a page which gathers information about CC licenses in relation to research publications, with information on each type of license. You can also speak with the contact person at your faculty if you wish to discuss the issue with a librarian.

Get help in choosing a license on the Creative Commons website

The National Library of Sweden on Creative Commons licenses for researchers and scholarly publication

The licenses are free of charge and no application is required. In brief, what is needed for a license to be applied to a work is a declaration in plain text explaining that the work is distributed under a given license, including a URL link to the license text itself. In your journal in OJS, the information on the license should be presented in the following places in the article:

  • In plain text and in the metadata storage on the article’s landing page. You solve this by choosing a CC license in the OJS settings.
  • In plain text in the article itself, e.g. in a footnote on the first page of the article.
  • If possible, the license should also be embedded in the metadata layer of the full text file.

In order to meet the industry standards for transparency, information should also be available on the journal’s general guidelines for CC licenses on your website.

Set and describe how your journal manages copyright and licenses under “Settings / Distribution / Rights”. There, you can state the journal’s copyright declaration, select which party holds the copyright to the content, and choose a CC license for the journal content. 

By choosing a copyright party and a CC license in the OJS settings, you enable the landing page of each article itself to automatically contain information about copyright and which type of licensing applies to the article. 

There is further information on copyright and CC licenses in relation to scholarly articles in a guide from PKP and via DOAJ. 

PKP guide on getting found and staying found, on their website

DOAJ guide for journals and publishing houses on their website


There are several librarians at the Libraries at Lund University who work with OJS. Contact the librarian at your faculty library.

Faculty of Law Library

Jon Eriksen – jon [dot] eriksen [at] jur [dot] lu [dot] se (jon[dot]eriksen[at]jur[dot]lu[dot]se)

Libraries at the Faculty of Science

Frida Rosengren – frida [dot] rosengren [at] science [dot] lu [dot] se (frida[dot]rosengren[at]science[dot]lu[dot]se)

Libraries of the Joint Faculties of Humanities and Theology

Ranka Steingrimsdottir
Jacob Andersson

forskningsstod [at] htbibl [dot] lu [dot] se (forskningsstod[at]htbibl[dot]lu[dot]se)

Social Sciences Faculty Library

Ellen Fall – ellen [dot] fall [at] sambib [dot] lu [dot] se (ellen[dot]fall[at]sambib[dot]lu[dot]se)

University Library

Martina Ramstedt – martina [dot] ramstedt [at] ub [dot] lu [dot] se (martina[dot]ramstedt[at]ub[dot]lu[dot]se) 
Magnus Annemark – magnus [dot] annemark [at] ub [dot] lu [dot] se (magnus[dot]annemark[at]ub[dot]lu[dot]se)