Copyright for research papers
Thread poster: Tetyana Dytyna

Tetyana Dytyna  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:16
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Mar 16, 2009

I have found several research papers in my field of study that I find very significant. I would like to translate them from English into my native language, and then publish them in a specialized publication to share with the academic community.

Is there any copyright applied to the original papers? Am I allowed to translate, and more important to publish the translation later? The studies that I found can be accessed freely on the Internet, but does the same apply to the published papers?

Thanks in advance for your help.


Tina Vonhof
Local time: 04:16
Member (2006)
Dutch to English
+ ...
Not a legal opinion Mar 16, 2009

I will leave it up to legal experts to give a legal opinion but as a researcher I can tell you that I would be outraged if you translated and published one of my papers without my permission. If these studies are freely available on the internet, there is nothing that prevents you from contacting the authors and asking for permission.


Tetyana Dytyna  Identity Verified
Local time: 13:16
English to Ukrainian
+ ...
Don't get me wrong Mar 16, 2009

In no way do I want to steal anything, and that's exactly why I'm asking for your advice here


Natalie  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:16
Member (2002)
English to Russian
+ ...

Hi Tetyana Mar 16, 2009

In case of papers published in scientific journals, the copyright (in most cases) is owned by the journals themselves. You should contact the editor and ask them how to proceed.


[Edited at 2009-03-16 20:56 GMT]


Damian Harrison
Local time: 12:16
German to English
Copyrights and licences Mar 17, 2009

I believe that something similar was discussed elsewhere on proz and would advise you to do a search on "copyright".
Translating and publishing an entire article would certainly be a violation of copyright. Remember the scandal about the fan translations of the last Harry Potter book? You are essentially proposing to do the same thing - except that in this case the authors are presumably raking in less money than Ms. Rowling.

Why not just try to contact the authors?

For a more professional assessment of your rights and obligations, try contacting these people:


Myriam Garcia Bernabe  Identity Verified
United Kingdom
Local time: 11:16
English to Spanish
Contact the source of copyright for permission Mar 17, 2009

Hi there,

You will first have to determine who owns the copyright, i.e. the researchers themselves, the research institution or the speciliased journal or publishers.

Then, you must approach them for permission. If they grant it, they might ask you to buy the rights of translation or lease the rights of translation or they will certainly impose conditions of translation and use. It all depends on local Intellectual Property Law where the items where published and how they wish to negotiate with you.

Please note that they might refuse altogether so you might want to think about preparing a good proposal, why would knowledge transfer into your language be advantageous, etc...

Good luck,


Alex Lago  Identity Verified
Local time: 12:16
Member (2009)
English to Spanish
+ ...
Look at the lincese under which they are published in the web Mar 17, 2009

If they are published in the web, they should have an indication of the type of license they are published under, i.e. copyright, copyleft, copyright-free, creative commons, etc.

Depending on the type of license under which they have been published in the web you will be able to use them with or without the authors permission, with or without having to mention the author, etc.

You should always look for the type of license and if you are not sure what the license entitles you to, there are loads of webpages which explain each type of license.


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