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Big publishers stepping back from demanding author copyright

The proportion of large academic publishers requiring authors to hand over copyright of their papers has halved between 2005 and 2012, a survey has found.

In 2005, 70 per cent of the world’s large publishers asked authors to transfer their copyright to the publisher but by 2012 the figure had fallen to 30 per cent. However, the equivalent figures for small and medium-sized publishers have remained unchanged at 60 per cent.

Big publishers are instead asking authors for a license to publish their work–in which copyright stays with the author. The findings were published on 30 September in a report of the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers, written by consultants Simon Inger and Tracy Gardner.

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