I have been reading that a publisher called WIT Press has the following copyright agreement:


It has one part that says:

We will not withhold permission for any reasonable request from you to publish parts of this paper in connection with any other work by you, provided the usual acknowledgements are given regarding copyright notice and reference to the original publication.

What does it really mean? It means that if a paper submitted to that publisher gets accepted I cannot put it on my personal webpage or in the repository of the university that I am?

  • 1
    The title of this question doesn't quite tie up with the body of it - perhaps some clarification would be in order?
    – Flyto
    Feb 26, 2015 at 10:17
  • I believe this means you are OK to publish your paper on your site and submit to uni repository. Typically, respected publishers have policies that de facto allow a scholar to publish an "offprint" or a "preprint" copy of their paper on their webpage, along with citation to the published version. My understanding is, the preprint version can be identical in content to the published version, but be formatted as a paper for a class (font 12, double-spaced with 1'' margins on 8x11 pages), whereas an "offprint" of the published article is a 100% exact copy as it appears in journal.
    – A.S
    Feb 26, 2015 at 13:46
  • Again, in this case the language seems fairly standard for decent publishers. You should be able to just assume 'fair use' permission for the type of dissemination you mention, and not have to specifically request it, either.
    – A.S
    Feb 26, 2015 at 13:46
  • How did you end up understanding the exact opposite of what the text pretty clearly says?
    – Cape Code
    Feb 26, 2015 at 15:34
  • I have read the agreement and do not see any direct contradiction between the text and my understanding, or the common sense approach I recommend...correct me if I am wrong? Perhaps we differ in our perception of the agreement itself: one might treat it as a set of hard rules; someone else as a set of prescriptive guidelines. I tend to lean toward the latter...
    – A.S
    Feb 26, 2015 at 16:07

3 Answers 3


By default, you hold the copyright for everything you write (note that some things such as contracts of employment may change this default).

When you "assign" the copyright, as often one must to an academic publisher, you give them control over your work. At that point you are correct that you would not be able to put it on your personal webpage without permission from the copyright holder - although in practice many publishers have policies that grant you permission to do this.

The part of the article that you quote appears to be promising that the publisher in question will grant you permission to use parts of your own work in other work, under certain conditions.


You should ask the publisher. It is simply obvious they will give permission "under certain conditions." The concern is to know what those conditions are. I find the wording about "any reasonable request" vague and much less author-friendly that what I usually see. But their actual intent might be just fine. Ask specifically about your personal webpage or in the repository of the university. Most publishers in my experience talk about those things in their copyright transfer form in the first place.

Do not approach this by trying to guess what is "reasonable."


This copyright statement does not say whether you can put it on the repository or your personal website. Unfortunately, it doesn't look like WIT Press actually have a clear policy on this. The "publish parts of this paper in connection with any other work by you" wording is usually used to refer to, as Simon says, reusing parts in later publications.

SHERPA/Romeo list WIT's journal policies as "unknown" (see eg the International Journal of Safety and Security Engineering entry, which suggests they do not have a repository (etc) policy at all. If they don't have one, you can't assume you're allowed to do it - they may let you if you ask, but you'd have to ask, and they can say no.

If you're required to deposit material in an institutional/funder repository, talk to your institution or funder before publishing in this journal. (WIT do have a very limited paid "open access" system, but this is unusually restrictive, and would not comply with many funder OA policies in any case)

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