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We use roles to assign permissions and attribution to a module or collection. There are three required roles that must be assigned for every piece of content before it can be published:

  • Author: An author is someone who gets credit for creating a work. This is not necessarily the person who entered the content, but rather the person who should get credit for the ideas behind the content. Multiple authors can be listed for the same content in a specific order (i.e. first author, second author, etc.).
  • Copyright Holder: The copyright holder is the person who actually owns the rights to the work, and is the person responsible for licensing the work under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution license. As with authors, it is possible to list more than one copyright holder. Note that while authors are often the copyright holders on original works, this is not always the case; some examples include organizations that own copyrights to works created by their employees, or authors who have sold or transferred their copyrights to another party.
  • Maintainer: While the author and copyright holder get credit for creating and owning the work, respectively, the maintainer is the person responsible for editing and publishing the content. Only users listed as maintainers have permission to publish updates to a module or collection. Many authors will choose to act as a maintainer for their own materials, but some may choose to hand that responsibility off to another individual or group, such as a graduate student or assistant. As with the other roles, it is possible to add multiple maintainers.

In addition to the three required roles listed above, there are two optional roles for content:

  • Editor: A user listed as an editor receives credit for editorial contributions towards that content. Editing duties may include checking the material for accuracy, grammar, spelling, organization, and so on. Unlike authors, editors do not take credit for the ideas behind the content, but rather for its organization and presentation. Editors do not have rights to publish materials, so editors who are also responsible for keeping modules or collections up-to-date must be assigned the maintainer role in order to publish new versions of the content. Editors are listed under the "More about this content" link that appears at the end of the module.
  • Translator: A translator has taken existing content and translated it from one language into another. Translators are listed next to the authors' names in the content headers. As with editors, translators do not have permission to publish or update modules, so translators with publication responsibilities should also be assigned as maintainers for the content.

We use roles to display and maintain proper attribution for modules and collections, as well as for derived copies of existing content. When you change roles for a module or collection, a role request is sent to any user who was added or removed from a module's collaboration list.

A pending role request notification.
Pending role request

These changes do not take effect until all parties with role changes accept the role requests and the content is (re)published. This process ensures that all users have an opportunity to approve of any attribution changes with which they're involved. Modules and collections cannot be published while role requests are pending.

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