Copyright for researchers

Researchers often uses the work of others and incorporate this into their own research: copyright indicates within which framework researchers may do so.

Important in this regard is article 15a of the Dutch copyright law: the right to quote. The right to quote includes both text, images, audio- and video fragments. Works may be quoted when:

  1. The quoted work was made public lawfully;
  2. The quote serves to support the content of your work. It is not for embellishment;
  3. Nothing more is quoted than strictly necessary. Images may be quoted in their entirety;
  4. No changes have been made in the quoted work;
  5. The quoted source is clearly stated.

Research, when it is made public, is a new creation: a new work with new rights, with the researcher (or a third party) as copyright holder. Copyright indicates what the rights of the researcher are and how third parties may use the work.

If a researcher wants to make the work public, there are several questions that must be answered: how does the researcher want to make the work public? Through a large (or small) publisher? Through Open Access? Here too there is a copyright dimension: can the researcher retain the copyright if so desired?

Below you will find several frequently asked questions by researchers concerning copyright. If your question is not included, contact the Copyright Information Point via

Creative Commons is a widely used and accessible type of licence that you can attach to your work. There are six types of Creative Commons licence. When you use a Creative Commons licence, as the copyright holder, you dictate the conditions in which your work may be used by third parties. For all types of Creative Commons licence, it is mandatory to quote the source, and you retain all of your rights to the work.

The website also provides a licence selection tool that you can use to decide which type of licence best suits your situation.

If this is for a quote, then yes, provided you satisfy the legal conditions. If you are unable to rely on the right to quote, you need the copyright holder’s permission. If it is not possible to request permission or permission is not given, you may include a hyperlink to the material.

For advice on specific permission requests or how to phrase a declaration of consent please, contact

Publishers often use their own, standard agreements that they offer to the author for signature. These standard agreements differ from one publisher to another and do not mean that adaptations are not possible. In most cases, the publisher will ask you to transfer your copyright or to grant an extensive licence to your work. In general, as the author, it is best to be aware of the following points before signing the agreement:

  • It is wise to retain the right to reuse an article or book chapter in education or research. This prevents a situation where, having signed the publisher agreement, you are no longer able to use the work you have created in your own teaching or research.
  • If you are planning to rewrite the work, it is also wise to retain the right to rewrite or adapt the work.
  • You should also retain the right to have your publication or, in any event, the author manuscript, included in the institutional repository, RePub. The author manuscript (also referred to as the ‘Submitted Version’ and/or the ‘Version of Record’) is the version you submit to the publisher.
  • If the work is a scientific article, it is wise to retain the right to distribute the article among your colleagues.

For legal advice on assessing the agreement with the publisher etc, contact

The EUR has an Open Access policy. You can read more about Open Access and EUR policy here.

If you wish to publish in a particular journal on an Open Access basis, before doing so, you should always check in the Erasmus Journal Browser whether the publication costs are covered by the general agreements between EUR and/or the VSNU and the publisher.

The right to quote does allow you to copy an image, passage of text or part of an audio(visual) work without the copyright holder’s permission for non-commercial purposes, provided the following legal conditions are met:

  1. The work quoted from has been legally published.
  2. The quote serves to support the content of your work and not to embellish or ameliorate your work.
  3. You may not copy any more than is strictly necessary. Images may, of course, be quoted in their entirety.
  4. No changes may be made to the quote.
  5. The source must be clearly quoted.

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