Rights retention and open access

A new way of making sure your research is open access is here. As part of Plan S, an open access policy initiative that many research funders have signed up to, there are changes to how you can make your research articles open access without paying for APCs (article processing charges).

Called ‘rights retention’, it means adding a set statement to a research publication before you submit it, asserting that the author is applying a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to the text.

The Wellcome Trust was the first major UK funder to launch a Plan S-compliant open access policy – as of 1 Jan 2021, the new Wellcome policy requires authors to apply a specific rights retention statement to Wellcome-funded papers. UKRI has now launched its own new open access policy which is very similar. So it’s good practice to starting thinking about adding a rights retention statement whenever you submit a paper for publication.

One of the main benefits to you as a researcher is to retain sufficient rights to be able to re-use your own work as you choose, rather than is currently imposed on you by some publisher agreements and copyright restrictions. It will also mean your work will meet the open access requirements for REF submission.

Template rights retention text you should use in either the submission letter or the acknowledgements section, or both, is stated in both the Wellcome and UKRI policies. Edinburgh Napier will be developing its own guidance in due course.

Please speak to the repository team (repository@napier.ac.uk) if you have any questions or need advice about submitting a paper with a statement. We will be disseminating more information in the coming months about what you need to as this develops across the sector.