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Copyright information

For researchers


The copyright lies with the author (or rights holder). This means that you cannot simply take parts of someone else’s work and use them as your own. When you do want to use parts of someone else’s work or cite them it has to fit in the context of your work and you have to cite your sources.

See SURF’s website on copyright.

Citations and Citing Sources

A proper citation ensures that the source is traceable and prevents the appearance of letting someone else’s work pass as one’s own. Reusing other people’s work without properly citing the source is plagiarism and a punishable offence. (See the KNAW advice).

The rules for reusing someone’s work do not just apply to texts. Copyright also applies to images, film, music, computer programmes, and other expressions of art or science. Acquisitions should always be functional, subservient to one’s own work, and properly cited.

See the SURF Rule of thumb for the use of Audio and Visual material (pdf).

If the UvA has given a direct assignment then the copyright belongs to the UvA. Opinions are divided as to whether copyright belongs to the UvA if there is no evidence of a direct assignment. In the latter case the UvA generally permits researchers to make their own arrangements with the publisher concerning their own work.

It is not mandatory to hand over all your copyrights to the publisher, you can also choose to merely grant them the usage rights. Read SURF’s information on Agreements you can make with publishers concerning your own work. Note, in any case, make sure that you have a written agreement.

On 1 July 2015 the regulation for the Authors Rights Contracts was made public which has since reinforced the author’s position towards publishers.

Have you come to a written agreement that involves signing over the copyrights to the publisher or granting them exclusive usage rights? Then you need their permission to:

  • Digitally disseminate your publication, for example, on your own website, other’s website, or via E-mail;
  • Use your publication in a new manner, for example, in a collection with other publications.

Since 1 July 2015 there is a new provision in the law: “Use it, or lose it”. If your work is no longer, or insufficiently, being used then the author can get the copyrights back.


UvA PhD students must submit their thesis to UvA-DARE where it will be archived and made accessible to the public. According to the doctoral agreement (pdf) the copyright remains with the PhD student.

You will remain the copyright holder of all your published articles as long as you do not personally sign those rights to another party. If a thesis contains material that cannot freely be used then it may be necessary to put those sections under embargo.

Open access

As an author you will always remain the copyright holder unless you explicitly sign over those rights to, for example, a publisher. We recommend publishing your research work open access in order for it to be available to everyone. Read more on the open access policy of the UvA.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) offers the freedom to manage your copyrights in a flexible manner. In choosing one of the standard publishing licences you get to decide on which conditions your work may be used. You remain the copyright holder to your own work but you grant other’s permission to use, share, or disseminate it. For more information on how this works please see the Creative Commons website.

(Re)Using research data

Do you intend to publish research data other than your own? Then you are required to obtain their permission. The UvA/AUAS RDM-website stipulates what you are permitted with other people’s data. Here you can also find information on using and managing research data for every phase of your research.

This page is part of the Copyright Information Site provided by the University Library. It also answers questions on copyright by students and lecturers.

Copyright Information - general