Science Commons, SPARC Announce New Tools for Scholarly Publishing

May 17th, 2007 by Kaitlin Thaney

Together with SPARC and MIT, we are proud to announce the release of a set of online tools designed to help authors retain rights over their scholarly works, including the right to self-archive their material.

The Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine is one of these tools, making it easier for authors to select and attach an addendum to the standard copyright transfer form, allowing them to amend the traditional terms of agreement with publishers. The Addendum Engine makes this as simple as point-and-click.

The tool can be found on the Science Commons, SPARC and MIT Web sites, and can also be readily implemented on university sites, such as our first adopter – Carnegie Mellon University. By providing the means to easily plug in the addendum generator on sites such as Carnegie Mellons, the tool takes on a new role, serving as a university toolkit.

Through the Addendum Engine, authors can choose from an array of provided addenda, some of which have been consolidated in order to address the problem of addenda proliferation. This is true of the Science Commons and SPARC addenda, named “Access-Reuse”, a combination of the SPARC Author Addendum and the Science Commons Publish-Creative Commons Addendum.

For details on specifying a default agreement and to integrate the addendum generator onto your Web site like Carnegie Mellon, click here.

We invite you to take a look at the other addenda and materials part of this release. For more information about the launch, please read the official press release. You can also learn more about this project on our Web site, or by visiting SPARC and MIT.



For Immediate Release
Wednesday, May 16, 2007
Contact: Kaitlin Thaney
Fax: (617) 532-0025

Washington, DC and Cambridge, MA – May 16, 2007 – Today, Science Commons and the Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition (SPARC) announce the release of new online tools to help authors exercise choice in retaining critical rights in their scholarly articles, including the rights to reuse their scholarly articles and to post them in online repositories.

The new tools include the Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine, an online tool created by Science Commons to simplify the process of choosing and implementing an addendum to retain scholarly rights. By selecting from among four addenda offered, any author can fill in a form to generate and print a completed amendment that can be attached to a publisher’s copyright assignment agreement to retain critical rights to reuse and offer their works online.

The Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine will be offered through the Science Commons, SPARC, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), and the Carnegie Mellon University Web sites, and it will be freely available to other institutions who wish to host it. It may be accessed on the Science Commons Web site at

Also available for the first time is a new addendum from Science Commons and SPARC, named “Access-Reuse,” that represents a collaboration to simplify choices for scholars by combining two existing addenda, the SPARC Author Addendum and the Science Commons Open Access-Creative Commons Addendum. This new addendum will ensure that authors not only retain the rights to reuse their own work and post them on online depositories, but also to grant a non-exclusive license, such as the Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial license, to the public to reuse and distribute the work. In addition, Science Commons will be offering two other addenda, called “Immediate Access” and “Delayed Access”, representing alternative arrangements that authors can choose.

“The Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine will enable authors to maximize the reach of their work,” said Heather Joseph, Executive Director of SPARC. “It’s a significant leap forward in making it easier for authors to effectively manage their publication rights.”

In addition, MIT has contributed to this effort by including its MIT Copyright Agreement Amendment in the choices available through the Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine. The MIT Copyright Amendment has been available since the spring of 2006 and allows authors to retain specific rights to deposit articles in MIT Libraries’ DSpace repository, and to deposit any NIH-funded manuscripts on the National Library of Medicine’s PubMed Central database.

“The cumulative nature of scientific discovery makes it imperative that unnecessary barriers to the timely sharing of results of research should be eliminated wherever possible,” said Ann Wolpert, Director of Libraries for MIT. “The MIT Libraries applauds Science Commons for its development of tools such as the Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine, which enables authors of scholarly articles to ensure that they can later reuse their works and make them widely accessible to other researchers and the public. Timely and broad access to the scholarly literature and research results is key to the advancement of science, and we are pleased to participate in this important Science Commons initiative by offering MIT’s Copyright Amendment for inclusion in the Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine.”

“Scientists in many fields believe that progress can best be achieved by sharing scientific information. Carnegie Mellon is delighted to be able to host the addendum generator to help faculty balance their rights as authors with those of their scholarly publishers,” said Dr. David Yaron, Faculty Senate Library Committee Chair of Chemistry at Carnegie Mellon University.

SPARC offers a suite of materials, including a full color brochure and poster, that introduce the topic of author rights on campuses and complement the new SPARC-Science Commons “Access-Reuse” addendum. See

“This is about authors’ rights,” said John Wilbanks, Vice President of Science Commons – a project of Creative Commons. “Right now, authors trade the most important rights – like the right to make copies of their own scholarly works – to traditional publishers. That trade has led to an imbalanced world of restricted access to knowledge, skyrocketing journal prices, and an inability to apply new technologies to the scholarly canon of knowledge. Our Scholar’s Copyright project addresses this imbalance. Working with libraries and universities, we are providing the Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine so that scholars can retain rights to make copies of their own writings available on the Web.”


Science Commons

Science Commons’ goal is to encourage stakeholders to create areas of free access and inquiry using standardized licenses and other means; a ‘Science Commons’ built out of voluntary private agreements. A project of the non-profit copyright organization Creative Commons, Science Commons works to make sharing easier in scientific publication, licensing of research tools and materials, and databases. Science Commons is at


SPARC (Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition), with SPARC Europe and SPARC Japan, is an international alliance of more than 800 academic and research libraries working to create a more open system of scholarly communication. SPARC’s advocacy, educational, and publisher partnership programs encourage expanded dissemination of research. SPARC is on the Web at

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