Clarification for the activation of full texts in edoc (secondary publication)

With a view to long-term publication activities, it is worthwhile to deal with the legal frameworks regarding secondary publishing of publications early on. The University Library asks authors to support the library wherever possible with regard to complying with copyright and contractual terms.

On request, the Open Access department offers individual consultation in order to help authors with the clarification of their secondary publishing rights. Within our capacity, we can also take over requests to publishers.

We recommend that you reserve a long-term non-exclusive right of use at the time of submitting your manuscript. This may require modification of the publisher’s contract or the writing of a contract addendum.

Information and suggestions may be found on the Publishing agreements page.

Clarification of the terms of use is required for articles that have already been published. The following questions are relevant:  

  1. May the full text of the publication generally be published on the edoc document server?
  2. If yes, does the publisher impose stipulations for the activation on the Internet regarding:
    • Text version (preprint, i.e. original manuscript, postprint, i.e. accepted manuscript, published publisher version with publisher’s layout)
    • Date (embargo period before activation)
    • Additional information (proof of initial publication, linking, accompanying text, etc.)

 We recommend the following process:

  • The publisher’s contract usually contains information about the rights of use that are handed to the publisher, as well as other rights and obligations. These terms are mandatory.
  • The database SHERPA/RoMEO provides information about the current conditions that are valid for individual publishers or journals with regard to the self-archiving of articles. The information is, however, not legally binding. Publishers can be more restrictive as well as more accommodating than the description. No liability is accepted for the validity of the contents.
  • It may therefore be worthwhile to obtain written permission from the publisher to publish the accepted manuscript (postprint) or the publisher’s version in edoc. This procedure is particularly recommended for book chapters, monographs, newspaper articles as well as other publications that were published by small or non-English-language publishers. The following sample letter can be used for this purpose:
    Musterbrief [PDF]
    Modèle de lettre [PDF]
    Template letter [PDF]
  • If no other copyright agreements were made with the publisher at the time of publication, then the provisions of the Swiss Code of Obligations for the publishing contract (Art. 380-393 OR)  apply for authors who are resident in Switzerland. Accordingly, scientific journal articles or book contributions may be made available in edoc already three months after their publication (Art. 382 Section 3 OR). In the case of co-authorship, the consent of all authors is also required.

Legal opinion "Open Access – Access to scientific publications in Swiss law"
The legal opinion was commissioned by the University of Zurich and written by Prof. Dr. Reto M. Hilty and Dr. Matthias Seemann.

Competence Center in Digital Law (CCDL)
The aim of the Competence Center is to support the Swiss university landscape (lecturers, researchers, library employees, IT employees, legal services and administration employees) with regard to digitisation and the new media and technologies and all legal questions that may arise and to raise awareness of the legal risks. At present, the Competence Center is focusing on the topic of copyright.

The Policies of edoc (in particular the Data Policy) apply to the use of documents published in edoc by third parties.


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