Frequently asked questions

How do I keep my rights on figures and pictures (only when not publishing under a CC-BY license) Do not blindly sign the Copyright Transfer Agreement!

Write an e-mail to the publisher stating:

"Unfortunately , I cannot sign a full copyright transfer agreement, as my employer, DESY, reserves usage rights on figures and pictures . Under our publication policy, even if authors are copyright holders, they cannot grant exclusive rights to <publisher _name>. However, DESY is willing to grant <publisher _name> a non-exclusive licence to include all figures and pictures of the above - mentioned article to be published in the journal <journal _ name> and the right to include the material in all media , including electronic and microfilm, and to use the material in conjunction with computer-based electronic information retrieval systems, to grant permissions for photocopying, reproductions, and reprints, to translate the material and publish the translation, and to authorize document delivery and abstracting services.“

In your publication clearly state the license of the figures and pictures:

If they are your own:

„(c) All figures and pictures by the author(s) under a CC BY 4.0 license”

The (c) is optional. If you can't put the link "behind" CC-BY 4.0 add ( If there are figures or pictures with other licences in your work state the license in the caption(s) or add unless otherwise stated

This ensures that others can use your material with a proper citation without paying a fee to the rights holder (i.e. usually the publisher)

NB: If you publish in an gold open access journal and the whole article is licensed under a CC-BY license, this extra step is not necessary.
Is there a special Agreement with publishers?
  • For publications in Elsevier Journals DESY authors can keep their rights for images, figures and plots by asking to amend a "Short license" to the publisher contract either by contacting "oxfordcopyrights (Elsevier)" or the library. If contacting Elsevier directly authors should ask for a short license and include what material needs to be included in the short license, and the names and street addresses of the rights holders.
  • For IOP we have the following agreement for publications in JINST (Copyright Agreement)
  • For other IOP Journals DESY currently has a limited number of vouchers for hybrid OA, which we obtained without additional costs. Please contact the library for the current status. NB: We do not encourage hybrid OA
  • For OSA the publisher asks for a hefty addition to publish under a CC-BY license. Although there is an agreement that all authors from Helmholtz Institutions are eligable for a CC-BY license, this is considerd to be equal to the case of a hybrid journal. We would like to remind you, that publishing in hybrid journals is not recommended. We therefore ask you to keep your right on figures and pictures as above if you publish not CC-BY. CC-BY OA charges will not be covered by the library. If you wish to publish under a CC-BY license , note that the OSA system can't do this automatically, so authors should request this during the submission or peer-review process.
NB: Normally you would include all your own material and give your name and address as rights holder. You might want to add that the material is availabe under an Open Access CC-BY 4.0 license.
The publisher requested a confirmation on whether each author has obtained a waiver for the Article from their institution or university’s open access policy.

The reason for the letter is that this publisher does not honor the recommendation of the European commission on Open Access, which in Germany is also supported by HGF and of course DESY.
In their "Guidelines to the Rules on Open Access to Scientific Publications and Open Access to Research Data in Horizon 2020" (on page 7 Step 2 No 1, it is stated:

"Beneficiaries can deposit the final peer-reviewed manuscript in a repository of their choice. They must ensure open access to the publication within at most 6 months."

The publisher probably allows this only after 12 or evven 24 month

Before you answer, make sure that your work was not (partially) supoported with EU funding, hence does not fall unde the above mentioned clause.

Since DESY does not force scientists to adhere to the six month embargo period (although DESY recommends that scientists should prefer publishers, who honor this period), send an e-mail to the library to get a confirmation, which is a valid waiver.

However, you should consider the following:
To allow bes dissimination of your work:

1) Usually the publisher allows you to post your submitted version as preprint on a preprint server as e.g. Do this if possible (also outside the HEP community)
2) Keep the rights on your figures and pictures (See our FAQ ) on how to do this
3) Register your publication in the DESY Publication Database (PubDB incl. the post referee version and the publisher fulltext)
4) Consider to list all your publications on your personal website using the DESY Publication Database (See e.g. this weppage)

If you like, you can send us your copyright transfer agreement with the publisher and we will have a look.

In case to further questions to 1) - 4) above, please do not hesitate to contact us.

How to put my own work under a CC-BY license

If all content of your work is your own you may choose to grant a CC-BY license to your work:
Insert the following into your work:

Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag or Creative Commons Lizenzvertrag

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.

Usually this text is put either in a footnote at the first page or at the end in e.g. a section called "Additional Information"
In case you use something (e.g. pictures, ...) which are not your own, exclude these from the license, by prepending "Except otherwise stated, this work ...". Of course state the other license explicitly.

NB: A CC-BY license is usually not compatible with a later publication of the same work in a non-open-access journal, since non-open-access publishers usually ask you to transfer all usage rights. On the other hand CC-BY for pictures, tables, figures, ... are not known to cause problems.

ArXiv: Which license should I choose?

Unless you are sure your article will appear in the journal under a CC_BY llicense (i.e. "Gold Open Access") the publisher will need a signed copyright transfer agreement, Such an agreement usually only allows you to choose the standard arXiv license See arXiv help

Note that this license does not give DESY any rights on the arXiv version. To have a local copy available, please upload the fulltext also into the DESY Publication Database

You should ensure that you retain your rights on figures and pictures, ..., by stating in your manuscript, that these are published under a CC-BY license (See FAQ)

Please note that you need a signed permission form before you upload your article to arXiv (See

After publication in the journal we ask you to store the fulltext of the last version you sent to the publisher, as well as the original publishers pdf in the Publication database. We moreover ask you to allow us to make the versions, where this is allowed openly accessible (Green OA).

Free to Read

There are some publishers who claim to publish Open Access, where authors must sign a copyright transfer agreement (e.g. OSA) or pay an extra fee for a CC-BY license.
According to the following statement of the HGF AK Bibliotheks- und Informationsmanagement, we consider this as hybrid Open Access models, which the library does not recommend.

The original statement is:
"Der HGF AK Bibliotheks- und Informationsmanagement beobachtet mit Sorge, dass "Open Access"-Zeitschriften mit hohen Publikationsgebühren auf dem Markt erscheinen, bei denen standardmäßig ausschließlich freies Lesen ("gratis OA") erlaubt ist, während gleichzeitig für weitere (größtmögliche) Nachnutzung der Inhalte ("libre OA") Zusatzgebühren anfallen.
Der Arbeitskreis spricht sich dafür aus, solche Zeitschriften als "hybrid-OA" einzustufen und nicht über die zentrumseigenen Publikationsfonds zu fördern."