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Copyright: Managing Copyright: Author Rights

Managing Your Copyright

The Intellectual Property Policy of Carnegie Mellon University explains who owns the intellectual property created by faculty, students, and staff in their relationship with Carnegie Mellon. Carnegie Mellon University strongly encourages members of the University community who own copyright to their work to:

  • Understand what U.S. copyright law protects.
  • Understand their exclusive rights under the law, and the legal exceptions and limitations on their exclusive rights.
  • Manage their copyrights effectively, preferably by making their work freely available (open access) on the Internet and by licensing use of their work under an open license.


Carnegie Mellon strongly encourages authors to deposit their work in the university’s open access repository, KiltHub. Open access broadens dissemination, increases citations, enhances reputations, and maximizes the return on investment in research. Authors depositing work in KiltHub control when their work becomes freely accessible on the Internet. The University Libraries preserves work deposited in KiltHub and migrates it to new digital formats and technologies as standards evolve. Work posted to personal or departmental websites will likely disappear when the author leaves Carnegie Mellon or be rendered inaccessible when the format becomes obsolete.

All published or unpublished work by Carnegie Mellon faculty, post-doctoral and graduate students may be deposited in KiltHub, including journal articles, books, book chapters, conference papers and presentations, technical reports, theses and dissertations. Carnegie Mellon undergraduate student work that has been peer reviewed or otherwise certified may be deposited in KiltHub, including H&SS honors theses, capstone projects, and selected materials from the Meeting of the Minds.

What Can You Do?

Understand Your Author Rights
What can the author do and when?


Retain Your Copyright When Possible
Publication Agreements are Contracts – Can you negotiate?


Apply a Creative Commons License when possible
Ensure proper attribution and get credit for your work


Publish/Deposit Materials in Open Access Venues
Publish in Open Access Journals – See Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ)

Deposit versions of your work into KiltHub – The CMU Comprehensive Repository

Understanding Versions of Published Works

Many publishers recognize several 'versions' of a publication. Depending on the publisher, publication venue, and author agreement, an author who has transferred the copyright of their work may still retain certain rights to versions of their original work. it is important to understand the versions of a publication that may be recognized by a publisher, including:

  • Author's Original Manuscript (AOM)
  • Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM)
  • Version of Record (VoR)


These terms and descriptions are for general purposes. You should always consult the author agreement and/or publisher's information to ensure which versions the publisher may reference. 

 Author's Original Manuscript (OM)
The Author's Original Manuscript (OM) is the first submitted version of a publication. This version is also known as the 'Original Manuscript' or 'Pre-Print.' This version of the publication is the version that has been first submitted. It would be in the original format submitted by the author, and would not have been reviewed or changed from a peer-review process. 

Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM)
The Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM) is the second version of a publication. This version is also known as the 'Post-Print' or 'Accepted Version.' This version of the publication is the version that has been through the peer-peer review process, and changes from the peer-review process have been incorporated into the draft. This version may also have suggested editorial changes requested by the journal's editors to be made as well. Intellectually, this version of the article will be identical to the final published version. This said, the Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM) lacks the final changes or additions made by the publisher. This may include the final type-setting and branding found within the final version. This is the most common version publishers permit authors to share or post publicly after publication. It is important for authors to retain a copy of the Author's Accepted Manuscript (AAM).

Version of Record (VoR)
The Version of Record (VoR) is the final version of a publication. This version is also known as the 'Published Version' or the 'PDF Version.' This is the final version of the publication, and is the version that a reader would find online or in-print. While this version is intellectually identical to the Author's Accepted Manuscript Version (AAM), it contains the final typesetting and branding associated with the publication venue. This is the most restricted version of the publication, with most publishers not allowing an author to share or post this version of the publication without an associated cost or fee. 

Author Rights

In U.S. copyright law (Title 17 U.S. Code § 106) copyright owners are provided the following exclusive rights: 

  • Reproduce the copyrighted work
  • Prepare derivatives based upon the work
  • Distribute copies of the work for sale, transfer the ownership, or rent, lease, lend the work
  • Perform or display the work publicly

Copyright holders retain these rights unless they transfer copyright. This usually happens when an author wishes to publish their work. When this happens, authors should review and confirm which (if any) rights were are retained by the author. 

These retained rights will sometimes include: 

  • Posting a version of the article (but normally not the final published version) to a personal website, non-commercial website, institutional repository, or disciplinary repository
  • Distributing copies of the work to colleagues or in a classroom setting to students
  • Reusing portions of the work in future works (so long as proper attribution to the original work is provided




Run by Jisc in the UK, Sherpa Romeo is an online resource that aggregates and analyzes publisher open access policies from around the world and provides summaries of publisher copyright and open access archiving policies on a journal-by-journal basis.

Users of Sherpa Romeo can look-up a journal by name, ISSN, or publisher name.

Sherpa Romeo Records will inform you what an author can do with the Publisher Version (PDF), Accepted Version (Author’s Accepted Manuscript) or the Submitted Version (Original Manuscript).

Authors can also reach out to David Scherer for assistance in reviewing their author rights and publisher sharing/depositing policies.

Additional Resources provided by Sherpa Romeo:

How Open Is It?


In 2002, the Budapest Open Access Initiative articulated the basic tenets of Open Access for the first time. Since then, thousands of journals have adopted policies that embrace some or all of the Open Access core components related to: readership, reuse, copyright, posting, and machine readability. However, not all Open Access is created equal. For example, a policy that allows anyone to read an article for free six months after its publication is more open than a policy that creates a twelve-month embargo; it is also less open than a policy that allows for free reading immediately upon publication.

This guide will help you move beyond the seemingly simple question, “Is this journal open access?” and toward a more productive alternative, “How Open Is It?”

Use it to:

  • Understand the components that define Open Access journals Learn what makes a journal more open vs. less open
  • Make informed decisions about where to publish