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Frequently asked questions

Below you will find Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about copyright.

General copyright

Researchers and PhD candidates




General copyright

What should I do if I cannot find the copyright holder?
If you have made a serious attempt to find the copyright holder and your search did not deliver the desired result, strictly speaking, you are not legally authorised to use this work.

What is the limitation period of a copyright?
Material created by a maker who has been deceased for 70 years or more, is copyright-free.

What is plagiarism?
Using parts of another’s work without citing the source, which essentially means presenting it as your own original work. Plagiarism is not only using another’s exact text, but also presenting another’s conclusion in your own words without citing your source.

How do I correctly refer to my source?
A correct citation must at least indicate the title, author, publisher, ISBN/ISSN, URL and date of consultation (in case of a website). A reference is necessary to check the used source and to clarify who is the author or maker of the used/reused work or portion thereof.

Researchers and PhD candidates

I have a contract with the publisher. Can I still use my own publication?
Yes, usually you can. Even if you have transferred your entire copyright, it is still usually allowed to make the author’s version available on your personal webpage and the Radboud Repository. In this manner, an online version of your publication will be made available worldwide in open access. You can find the policy of your publisher or journal in SHERPA/RoMEO. In the database, you can find which version you may use.

How can I retain parts of my copyright?
Instead of transferring your entire copyright to the publisher, you may also agree on other terms with each other. Consider the right to publish your work on your personal webpage and through the Radboud Repository.

Can I get a discount if I publish in open access?
Yes, with some publishers Radboud University has made agreements regarding discounts for publishing in open access.

Can I store my publication in the Radboud Repository without it being made publicly available?
You can always submit a request to the repository team to have your text included in the Radboud Repository under embargo. If it concerns a dissertation, you are bound by the rules stated in the dissertation regulations. This means that embargo requests are only approved if they meet a number of conditions (e.g. pending peer review, in the case of an imminent commercial publication, or if the dissertation is part of an ongoing project) and the embargo period is not too long. Approval of an embargo request is done directly through the Rector Magnificus.

May I post my own publications on my own website?
Yes, so long as you are on the copyright holder. Please note! It is often the case that you have transferred the copyright to a publisher. In such circumstances, you may not publish the text on your website without prior permission from the publisher.

I want to submit my PhD thesis to the Radboud Repository. May I still publish at a publisher thereafter?
Yes, so long as it is not the same text. Prior to publication of your PhD thesis by an academic publisher, your thesis (or parts thereof) undergo peer review. Making changes or additions to the original text of your PhD thesis means generating a new publication for copyright. Publishing your PhD thesis through the Radboud Repository therefore poses no copyright issues.

It is a different story if it is a fully identical text; the text of your PhD thesis without changes or additions. It is important to inform your publisher that your publication will also become available via the repository.

Who holds the copyright to a PhD thesis?
In the context of ‘academic freedom of research’, the university does not execute its legal right as employer. This means that the author of a PhD thesis retains his/her copyright, even when it is based on research that took place within the scope of employment at Radboud University.

What is a Creative Commons license?
With a Creative Commons (CC) license, you grant prior permission for others to use the work in the manner you choose. A CC license is assigned to an individual publication and is used internationally.

copyright_attribution Attribution






How is copyright regulated for publications I have written together with others?
If there is a clear separation between the individual contributions, each maker holds the copyright to his/her individual contribution. If this division is indistinguishable, and it concerns a so-called indivisible work, the makers have a joint copyright on the whole.

May I incorporate a photo from another publication in my publication?
In terms of copyright, free reuse of previously published photos in your publications is permissible under certain conditions:

  • The photo citation must originate from a published source.
  • The photo citation must be functional. It must demonstrably benefit the content of the academic publication. In the case of an ‘image citation’, it may not be a pretty photo for the sole purpose of embellishing the publication.
  • Referencing is mandatory.


May I add a journal article to my educational material?
Yes, you can sometimes. But please note that special rules apply for the use of texts in educational material. With the verification tool, you can check whether you may copy journal articles.

May I provide links in my educational material to information I have found online?
Yes, including a link is always possible, provided they do not link to works published illegally.

May I use image and sound during my lectures or classes?
Yes, the use of visual and sound material during lectures or working groups that take place physically within the educational institution itself is permitted.
The education exemption in the Copyright Act also applies to the use of image and sound materials during lectures that take place digitally (for example via Zoom or Webex). Even then, the use of image and sound material is permitted without the permission of the rightholder.
However, other rules apply if you wish to make the image and/or sound material available in a reader or on Brightspace.

Where can I find free texts or images for use in the reader or on Brightspace?
Linking is always permitted, provided that they link to material published legally.

Using texts and images in educational material is often possible under certain conditions. As a lecturer, you can also request permission from the copyright holder. Ensure that the agreements are set in writing and always cite the source.

There is also plenty of copyright-free and/or free material available. Always remember to cite your sources.


Does the University hold the copyright to my thesis?
No, you retain the copyright to your thesis.

May my thesis be published in the thesis repository?
Yes, if you have given permission for this. Your permission will be requested before your thesis is included in the thesis repository. If the thesis has been written in consultation and collaboration with an internship company, you must also respect the commitments you have made with this organisation.

May I scan a paper article from another person and store it on my computer?
Yes, you may do this, provided you only use the article for personal use. However, if you wish to share it with others, for example via e-mail, the maker’s permission is required.

If you have any questions or would like more information regarding copyright or the Copyright Information Point, address your questions to Ask your Librarian. We will get back to you as soon as possible.