Many subscription publishers require authors to sign a copyright transfer agreement. Sign this and you no longer own your work, the publisher does. The publisher decides who can read, share, and reuse the content. Do you think you should have to ask the publisher for permission to reuse your own work? No? Then take back control.
Read about your rights and how to protect them in this resource from SPARC [pdf].
You can negotiate the terms of your publishing agreement. Want to retain your copyright? Want the right to post a free copy in an open repository? Want to reuse the content? Simply ask. Submit an author addendum that describes the rights you want to retain. SPARC provides a template addendum [pdf]. More info is available here.
The Scholar’s Copyright Addendum Engine can help you generate a customized author addendum.
Not all publishers will accept author addenda, but some will. And it never hurts to ask…
Instead of negotiating with a subscription publisher, you can go with an open access publisher and keep all your rights.
Open access publishers do not require a copyright transfer agreement; authors retain copyright. Articles are most often distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license, which allows anyone to read, share, and reuse the content provided they attribute the original source. Creative Commons also has other licenses, depending on the types of reuse rights you as the copyright holder want to grant users of your work. Don't know which license to choose? This simple license selector can help.