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New Publications Policy makes rights retention a must

A new publications policy takes effect from 1 January 2023.

A major update to the University’s Publications Policy will help authors to follow good open research practices. The policy also supports authors to retain intellectual property rights in their work.

Until recently, open research practices have focused on making journal articles openly accessible. Now open access is seen as one part of the wider open research movement, which considers a broader range of research outputs. One key aim is to make more outputs immediately available so that everyone can benefit from access to the most recent research.

While the new policy still emphasises the importance of peer-reviewed research articles, it also encourages our research community to deposit a broader range of research outputs to better reflect their contribution to their academic field.

The new Publications Policy is part of the University's ongoing commitment to make our research outputs open access. The updated policy comes into effect on 1 January 2023.

Professor Nick Plant, Deputy Vice Chancellor for Research, welcomed the revised policy:

"University of Leeds Libraries have long championed open access to publications and I’m very pleased to support this updated Publications Policy."

"While the new policy still emphasises the importance of peer-reviewed research articles, it also encourages our research community to deposit a broader range of research outputs to better reflect their contribution to their academic field."

"In so doing, it complements our Open Research statement to support an inclusive, and collaborative, research culture that promotes sharing and openness through the entire research process."

The updated Publications Policy features three new author requirements:

  • Authors must identify all contributors in all roles in all research outputs.
    This aligns with research culture initiatives to make sure all contributions are valued and recognised.
  • Authors must include a Data Access Statement in all research outputs, even when there are no data associated with the publication or the data are inaccessible. The statement says where the associated research materials are available and how they can be accessed.
    This enables compliance with the UKRI open access policy.
  • Authors must retain the necessary rights to make the accepted manuscripts of research articles publicly available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. This includes reviews and conference papers.

The changes demonstrate our institutional commitment to open research, knowledge equity, and the value of all contributions to research outputs.

The new Publications Policy supports authors to retain their rights in an accepted manuscript.

Funder policies increasingly require that research outputs are immediately available open access. But publisher practices can conflict with this. They can insist on embargo periods before any version of the accepted manuscript is made public. Authors can be caught in the middle, facing increased administration as they attempt to resolve the conflict and achieve open access

The policy introduces a more systematic approach so that authors are supported to assert their rights. When an author submits a paper, they inform the publisher of the policy on rights retention. The article submission process continues as normal with the publisher. When the manuscript is accepted, it is deposited in Symplectic and made publicly available.

This allows researchers to engage with open research practices with the full backing of the University, rather than negotiating with each publisher alone on a case-by-case basis.

Rights retention is increasing throughout the sector. COAlition S, an international consortium of research funding and performing organisations, led with a Rights Retention Strategy. The University of Edinburgh was the first to adopt rights retention at an institutional level in 2022. We work closely with our partners in the N8 Research Partnership as we adopt rights retention with the new publications policy.

Claire Knowles, Associate Director: Research and Digital Futures, welcomed the policy:

“The journey to full and immediate open access has taken longer than many of us hoped, however the updated University of Leeds Publications Policy takes us a significant step forward.

Thank you to all my colleagues who have contributed to and supported the updated policy. The changes demonstrate our institutional commitment to open research, knowledge equity, and the value of all contributions to research outputs.”

Next February, Professor Nick Plant will host an event to explore the issues around rights retention and discuss the new publications policy. There will be a guest speaker from the University of Edinburgh. Further details will be released nearer the time in Library news and Twitter.

View guidance on the publications policy and rights retention.

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