I have read on open-access journals that some of them allow non-exclusive publishing rights. What does this mean exactly? Is there a general open access policy or consensus about what these publishing rights should be?

Does this mean that I can publish my article in other journals too? Wouldn't that be considered plagiarism, or at least reduce the citations to the original article in the first journal? Does this mean that the author(s) is/are allowed to only self-archive their article on a repository website but cannot publish it elsewhere?

I have also seen this term on the website of Directory of Open Access Journals. So, I suspect that this has to do with open-access policies.

1 Answer 1


I suspect you're seeing "non-exclusive distribution rights", which means the journal gets the right to distribute the paper, but it's not an exclusive one. Other venues, such as arXiv or ResearchGate, can also distribute it.

If you have an open access paper, presumably it uses the CCBYA license, which means any use, distribution and reproduction in any medium is permissible (i.e. you can publish it elsewhere) as long as the original authors are credited. Journal licenses that only allow the authors to self-archive are more restrictive and usually indicate that the paper isn't open access.

This doesn't mean you can publish your article in other journals. Most journals will have policies that all submitted content must be novel, and if you've already published the paper it's no longer novel.

  • Thanks. That was my assumption as well. DOAJ explicitly mentions "non-exclusive publishing rights" on this page which sounds kind of odd. What about revisions? If the author can keep several copies of the same article, doesn't that mean that they should ensure that all copies are up-to-date? How's that possible in this situation? Jun 14, 2019 at 4:35
  • @stressedout I don't understand, what do you mean by "keep several copies of the same article"? If the paper is published there shouldn't be revisions anymore?
    – Allure
    Jun 14, 2019 at 4:49
  • Revision was a poor choice of word, sorry for that. I'm talking about errata, addenda or corrigenda. arXiv allows revisions but I guess arXiv publishes preprints only. I'm a student, so probably my question is wrong. But is it possible for a journal to publish addenda, errata or corrigenda for errors in an article that are not significant enough to withdraw the article? In that case, shouldn't all copies of the same article be updated as well? Jun 14, 2019 at 5:02
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    @stressedout once a paper is published, it's usually not updated again. It's impractical in today's electronic world: it just creates a discrepancy in versions. If a major error is detected then errata, corrigenda, and so on might need to be published, but those are separate items and not treated the same as the original article.
    – Allure
    Jun 14, 2019 at 5:07
  • Thank you. Now it makes sense. Jun 14, 2019 at 5:09

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