Greig, Morag. 2007. Repositories and copyright: Major hurdle or minor obstacle? ALISS Quarterly 3 (1): 16-9.

In doing some research on copyright I found this article, which looks at issues of copyright connected to the institutional repository at the University of Glasgow, specifically at that part of the repository which holds published materials (unpublished materials not usually being subject to copyright problems). Authors may either self-deposit or have repository staff make the deposit; the latter is generally preferred since authors do not feel they can accurately understand publishers’ copyright agreements, and are concerned lest they break the law.

Grieg discusses the methods by which staff can determine if an article may be deposited. Often a particular version is authorized by the publisher for deposit, but it may be difficult to obtain the correct version. She notes that it is usually relatively straightforward to find out if journal articles may be deposited, but more difficult for other items such as conference papers. Books and book chapters are also difficult as the contracts between publishers and authors rarely stipulate what is permissible with respect to repositories, but some books have been placed in this repository and have been very frequently used (over 22,000 downloads in one case).

The final comment in the article is of especial interest. Grieg points out that for all the problems that can exist in getting the appropriate permissions from publishers for deposit of materials in repositories, the greatest barrier remains the authors themselves, who must make the first effort to deposit, but who often still do not see this as part of what is expected of them.