Introduction: Libraries have a mission to educate users about copyright, and library publishing staff are often involved in that work. This article investigates a concrete point of intersection between the two areas - copyright statements on library-published journals.
Methods: Journals published by members of the Library Publishing Coalition were examined for open access status, type and placement of copyright information, copyright ownership, and open licensing.
Results: Journals in the sample were overwhelmingly (93%) open access. 80% presented copyright information of some kind, but only 30% of those included it at both the journal and the article level. Open licensing was present in 38% of the journals, and the most common ownership scenario was the author retaining copyright while granting a nonexclusive license to the journal or publisher. 9% of the sample journals included two or more conflicting rights statements.
Discussion: 76% of the journals did not consistently provide accurate, easily-accessible rights information, and numerous problems were found with the use of open licensing, including conflicting licenses, incomplete licenses, and licenses not appearing at the article level.
Conclusion: Recommendations include presenting full copyright and licensing information at both the journal and the article level, careful use of open licenses, and publicly-available author agreements.