A working group at the Association of Research Libraries (ARL) developed the Author Rights Model License Language to help libraries develop a standard language for licensing in open access institutional repositories. The blog has published a draft recommended clause for public comment. It also has some language that can be used by authors who wish to insert author rights into journal publishing licenses.
Authors retain the copyright to their work until such time as they assign it to someone else. They are granted the exclusive rights of reproduction, distribution, public performance, public display, and modification of the original work.
Many authors sign agreements with publishers without realizing exactly what rights they are surrendering. It is up to you to decide whether you will assign all of your rights, some of them, or none of them to a publisher. You might want to consider retaining some of your rights if you plan on using your work in any of the following ways:
For more information on Authors' Rights and Copyright, see the University of Idaho Library's Resources on Copyright.