ILWS - Charles Sturt University
ILWS - Charles Sturt University

Copyright Issues

When to link to a PDF or not to

In response to a request to link to PDFs of current publications from our web pages, we thought we should discuss issues regarding copyright with the University's copyright coordinator Kerry Peterson. Here is her formal response for the information of ILWS members:

Generally the first copyright owner of an original work is the person/s who has created it in material form.  This can vary if the work was commissioned or created as part of a person's employment duties.  Copying and communicating works are two of the exclusive rights of the copyright owner.   When material is published the original owner of copyright may assign these rights exclusively to the publisher for the final published version when they sign the publishing contract.  Some publishers may allow self-archiving of the pre-print version and/or apply an embargo for a set time period on the final published version.  Before signing a publishing agreement seek legal advice and understand what rights you are assigning to the publisher and what rights you may still have. 

  • Before providing links to published material check the publishing agreement.  Agreements will state whether the author/s are able to self-archive a copy of the peer reviewed manuscript version of their paper.  Each publishing agreement should be checked as they may vary according to the publisher.  
  • Secondly check with any co-authors as they must agree to the material being made available online – keep a copy of their written agreement.   
  • Submit the material to CRO (CSU Research Output).   Provide a link to the CRO record. Depending on the publishing agreement you may be able to provide the pre-print version if it does not allow uploading the final published version.  The library will check this before making the material available publicly. More information on Copyright issues is available on the Research Office website:

Research centres can link to articles:

  • loaded on CRO  and published online under Open Access licenses  or with the publisher/copyright owner permission
  • on a publisher website or database but people will only have access if they have a subscription  
  • providing a link does not infringe copyright provided the link is not an infringing copy (loaded without the permission of the copyright owner)

As a rule, it is illegal to put publisher versions of articles on any website unless permission is obtained. Items remain locked on CRO unless CRO staff have ascertained that the item can be opened for viewing. Often the version publishers allow is the final accepted manuscript without publisher markup. If you send this version to CRO they will check and open it if possible. CRO  staff put a page on the front of the manuscript indicating the publication details.

So, in a nutshell, the best way for us to link to your PDF is to provide a link to its web address in CRO where library staff will have accessed whether it not it can be accessible publicly. If you want further clarification  contact Simone Engdahl or Karin Smith