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Open access and rights retention

Open Access

Open Access (OA) is about making research publications freely accessible online at no charge to the reader, and with any restrictions on re-use minimised. The aim is to increase the academic and real-world impact of our research, and to give researchers, members of the public, and industry access to all the research they need and to give them the freedom to build upon research already carried out.

When research outputs are freely available they can have a wider reach (more readers, increased downloads), receive more attention (e.g. in the medias and social media) and there is a higher potential for the work to have academic and real world impact (e.g. more citations).

Research Publications and Copyright Policy

Sheffield Hallam University is committed to making the outputs of its research as widely available as possible and supports the principles of open access. 

The new SHU Research Publications and Copyright Policy (Open Access policy) was introduced on the the 15th October 2022 and updated on the 1st January 2024. From the 1st January 2024, authors will additionally be able to retain their rights over the author accepted manuscript of a chapter in an edited collection such as a book. To ensure effective scholarly communication and funder compliance, all Sheffield Hallam authors are required to do the following:

  1. Deposit a copy of all their research outputs in Elements. These will then be made available to the public via the University's repository SHURA, where possible.
  2. Make all scholarly articles in academic journals and conference proceedings, and all chapters in edited collections such as books available via immediate Open Access under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence without delay, i.e. from the day of first online publication. To achieve this, all Sheffield Hallam authors must add the following Rights Retention Statement as part of their manuscript submission to the publisher.
“For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version of this paper arising from this submission.”

From the 1st January 2024, you should add this statement to all your submissions to journals, conference proceedings and edited collections.

The Statement simply announces to the publisher that you have already applied the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to the author accepted manuscript that will arise from your submission. (You can apply licenses to work that does not yet exist.) Once the publisher has accepted your submission for publication in the full knowledge that you have already applied a licence to the author accepted manuscript, this manuscript can be made available from the University’s repository, SHURA, from the day of first publication under the Creative Commons Attribution licence.

"I included the Statement in the last revision of my paper and highlighted it for the benefit of the publisher and my co-authors. Everyone was happy with it.

It is great to know that submissions with the Statement are extremely unlikely to be rejected and I am happy to include the Statement whenever possible.”

Walid Issa, Associate Professor in Power Electronics, is one of the first Sheffield Hallam authors to publish a paper with the Rights Retention Statement

Whilst you would normally give away the right to distribute your paper to the publisher when signing the publishing agreement, a.k.a. Copyright Transfer Agreement, now you can retain the right to distribute a version of your own work yourself! Hence the term ‘rights retention’. You can now do things you previously could not.

Our new Research Publications and Copyright Policy gives you more rights over your own work.

You will be able to opt-out of the policy if necessary. This may be an option if your publisher does not allow the submission of a manuscript that includes the Rights Retention Statement or if you prefer to apply  another licence than the Creative Commons Attribution licence. Please be aware that our new policy is aligned with the requirements from external funders such as UKRI and next national research assessment following REF 2021 and that opting out will likely mean that you no longer comply with their Open Access requirements.

Full details of this policy are provided in the SHU Research Publications and Copyright Policy document.

This is also in line with the University’s ambition for Open Research.

The routes to Open Access

There are three routes to making your publications Open Access.

  • Green open access  
    You make a version of your work, usually, the Author Accepted Manuscript,available to download from the institutional repository, SHURA. For articles and chapters, including the Rights Retention statement in your submission, means that your work can be made Open Access from the day of first publication under the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.   For other types of work where you cannot apply the Rights Retention Statement, your work can be made available on SHURA according to your publisher's policies.
  • Gold open access after payment of a fee 
    The published version of your work is made Open Access on the publisher’s website, usually but not always after payment of a fee  called an Article, Chapter or Book Processing Charge. Your library has an Open Access Fund available to pay for these charges. You can apply for funding by filling out a form before you submit your work or enter an agreement with a publisher. 
  • Gold open access via a Read-and-Publish Agreement (for journal articles
    The Library has agreements with some journal publishers that means the costs of publishing your article Gold Open Access have already been paid when eligibility requirements are met. You can find a list of the read-and-publish agreements SHU has with publishers


How do I make my work Open Access?
Have a look at our checklist on what to do when you are publishing a paper or chapter.
You may also wish to find out more about Open Access for monographs and edited collections

The Benefits of Open Access

Below are some of the benefits of Open Access for you personally, for society and for the global research community.

  • Opening up access: access to publications has often been restricted to those who can afford to buy or subscribe or who belong to an organisation that subscribes. With Open Access, anyone with access to the internet can have access to research outputs.
  • Increased visibility of and access to your publications:  researchers, practitioners, potential collaborators and the public, both nationally and internationally, can easily find and access your work without any barriers.
  • Higher citation rates: There is evidence that Open Access articles are more highly cited and receive more diverse citations.
  • Complying with University, funder and REF policies:
    • the SHU Research Publications and Copyright Policy (Open Access policy).
    • the UKRI and other funders require that publications arising from the research that they fund are Open Access.   Find out more about funder requirements.
    • In order to be eligible for the REF, articles and papers in journals and conference proceedings with an ISSN number must be made Open Access.  Find out more about the REF requirements.