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SHERPA/RoMEO: Publisher copyright policies & self-archiving

Service  |  Scope  |  Aims  |  Activities  |  Staff  |   Management  |   Funding

Service Site

The SHERPA/RoMEO service site is maintained by SHERPA staff and provides a listing of publishers' copyright conditions as they relate to authors archiving their work on-line. The service categorises publishers and their conditions as:

Service Scope

The RoMEO Project (Rights MEtadata for Open archiving) was a JISC funded project (2002/3) at the University of Loughborough to investigate the rights issues surrounding the self-archiving of research in the UK community under the Open Archive Initiative Protocol for Metadata Harvesting (OAI-PMH). Through surveying the academic community it ascertained how give-away research literature and metadata was used and how it should be protected. From this work, the RoMEO project created a list of publishers' conditions for self-archiving.

After negotiation with the RoMEO Project team and JISC, SHERPA developed the outcomes of this project into a database-driven searchable service and knowledge bank of information. SHERPA maintains the SHERPA/RoMEO listing, which details the rights given to authors by the major publishers of peer-reviewed academic journals. It is now possible to search for many publishers and find out what permissions are normally given as part of each's copyright transfer agreement.

The majority of publishers support the right of academic authors to mount their own work online: however, some prohibit authors from using their work in this way as a condition of their copyright transfer agreement which they ask the author to sign.

Service Aims

SHERPA/RoMEO aims to:

Service Activity

On the SHERPA/RoMEO site searching for a publisher's name or journal title will inform you of the pre- and post-print conditions and restrictions on archiving. Entries link to a publisher's Copyright Transfer Agreement form, where available, and the publisher's home-page.

There is also a prototype Application Programmers' Interface (API) available.

Each publisher's entry is coded according to one of four colour categories. The entry for each publisher also lists conditions or restrictions imposed by the publisher which govern archiving rights or activities. Conditions are taken as terms which can be easily accommodated and which do not hinder an author in archiving their work. A typical condition is to acknowledge the publisher's copyright in the work. Restrictions are more prohibitive, typically requiring some additional action on behalf of the author. Where a Restriction effectively blocks access to the eprint, such as in the case of an embargo on its public release, or requiring password-controlled access, then the partial archiving right is noted but the full colour categorisation does not apply.

These summaries are for the publishers' default policies and changes or exceptions can often be negotiated by authors. All information is correct to the best of our knowledge but should not be relied upon for legal advice.



Stephen Pinfield (

Project Manager

Bill Hubbard (

For further information about SHERPA/RoMEO and the intended work of the project, then please contact Bill through the details above.

Services Development Officer

Jane H Smith (

Technical Officer

Peter Millington (

Project Management

Day to day management is under the control of the Project Manager, with oversight by the Project Director.

Funding & Partners

The SHERPA/RoMEO service is currently funded by the University of Nottingham and JISC on an ongoing basis. The Wellcome Trust has also given generous support to the work of SHERPA/RoMEO. Journal information used within the service is provided by the Zetoc service, which is funded by Jisc, with data provided by the British Library.

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