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Open Access

Copyright and Creative Commons

Are there any copyright issues?

While open access relies on the consent of copyright holders to share their work, making material open access will not deprive copyright holders of any rights. Copyright laws still apply. The Copyright and Creative Commons step of The publishing process explains more about copyright, licences and what content is covered.

Copyright holders normally consent to the unrestricted reading, downloading, copying, sharing, storing, printing, searching, linking, and crawling of the full text of the work. Authors can choose to attach licences to their work to protect themselves (e.g. from the distribution of mangled or misattributed copies or commercial re-use) while retaining the uses required by legitimate scholarship.

Creative Commons

Creative Commons (CC) have developed a series of licences for copyright owners' differing access and re-use wishes. Offering your work under a CC licence does not mean giving up your copyright. It means permitting users to use your material in various ways, but only under certain conditions and with proper attribution to the original source. A copyright owner can select the type of licence that best suits their needs.


A CC licence can promote dissemination and high visibility. The limited copying and dissemination rights in the Copyright Act make the most sense where a copyright owner wants to retain maximum control over, for example, a commercially produced copyright work.

How do I assign a CC licence?

  1. Decide which licence you want to use
  2. Use the CC tools to create the icon, an acknowledgement and short licence description suitable for your chosen licence.
  3. Insert the CC details into your work. Copy the icon and other automatically generated details into your work.

Example CC licence

Logo of Creative Commons by attribution, non-commercial use licence This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 Unported License.

© 2014 Hocking et al. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly credited.

© Western Sydney University, unless otherwise attributed.
Library guide created by Western Sydney University Library staff is licenced under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY)