A copyright agreement defines which rights you maintain or transfer, to what degree, and under which circumstances. It also defines what other people can and can’t do with your work. Check out our LibGuide on Copyright and Author Rights for more information.
Transferring copyright does not have to be all or nothing. Read the full copyright agreement carefully. Try to retain the rights that serve your needs:
The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles. The Author Addendum is a free resource developed by SPARC in partnership with Creative Commons and Science Commons, established non-profit organizations that offer a range of copyright options for many different creative endeavors.
Complete the addendum: http://sparcopen.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/Access-Reuse_Addendum.pdf
Print a copy of the addendum and attach it to your publishing agreement.
Note in a cover letter to your publisher that you have included an addendum to the agreement.
Check out the Scholar's Copyright Addendum Engine for other addendum options.