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Library Research Support

Publish with power, retain your rights

From the 15th of October 2022, you will be able to retain key rights over your peer-reviewed manuscript, rather than signing them away to your publisher.

This is achieved with one (1) simple action: including a Rights Retention Statement in the funding acknowledgement section and cover letter of all submissions of your (co-)authored papers to journals or conference proceedings:

“For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.”

Including this Statement will allow you to retain key rights over your peer-reviewed manuscript, rather than signing them away to your publisher. In particular, you will retain the right to disseminate your peer-reviewed manuscript by depositing it in a repository and providing open access from the day of first online publication under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.

A CC BY licence means that a reader can include a figure, table, photograph or other materials from your article for any purpose in their own work without having to obtain any additional permission, as long as they acknowledge the original source. Releasing your work under a Creative Commons licence is important because otherwise a reader cannot do anything without the copyright owner’s explicit permission, unless it is ‘fair dealing’ under copyright law (i.e. limited reuse of copyright material for certain fixed purposes, such as ‘criticism and review’). Your work is not truly open access without a liberal licence, and research funders are increasingly requiring you to distribute your work via a liberal CC BY licence. For more information about available Creative Commons licenses, go to our open research pages.

Normally, you would lose the right to disseminate your peer-reviewed manuscript during your publication journey. Although you automatically hold the copyright when you write a paper, if you publish it in a subscription journal, you will be asked to sign a publishing agreement in which you give all or part of your copyrights to your publisher, who now holds them in exclusivity.

In practice, this means that you cannot use your own work without explicit written permission from your publisher. For example, you cannot use any of your content on Wikipedia, translate your own work into another language or another format such as Braille, distribute a copy of your work through a repository from the day of first publication, or share your work with colleagues via an academic social network such as Academia.edu and ResearchGate. Conversely, a publisher can do all of these things without first seeking your permission, and more: they can re-package your content for use by other providers, including commercial ones, and they can alter or reformat your manuscript (e.g. include your work in an anthology) as well as sub-licence all or any rights they choose to anyone else.

 

Jake Phillips"I’m looking forward to being able to maintain the rights to the work that I have done as it is gives me more scope to share articles on social media, increase readership and make it easier for policymakers and practitioners to engage with my research. They can then use it to improve their practice and make probation more effective with no one being in breach of copyright law!"
Jake Phillips, Reader in Criminology

 

 

 

 

In short, if you transfer or grant exclusive rights to a publisher, they can use your work without asking, whereas you, the author and creator, may be unable to make similar use of your own intellectual content.

The new SHU mechanism of rights retention not only ensures you retain key rights over your accepted manuscript, it also ensures that you automatically comply with all external Open Access requirements (from research funders such as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), and the Wellcome Trust; and for next national research assessment following REF 2021) whilst retaining the freedom to choose where you publish your work, which may otherwise be restricted by your funder’s requirements.

All this is achieved with one (1) simple action: including the Rights Retention Statement in your submission to the publisher. You will need to continue to deposit the accepted manuscript of your papers into Elements as soon as possible after acceptance but before publication.

This rights retention mechanism is tried and tested. Harvard has been using it since 2008. But we are the first institution in England to implement it other than as a trial. Other institutions are also planning to implement this rights retention mechanism.

You will be fully supported by your Library. They will issue guidance, and provide sessions and 1-2-1 support to help you achieve the benefits that the new Research Publications and Copyright Policy promises.

Your peer reviewed manuscript is your intellectual creation. Don't give it away !

The new policy

The new SHU Research Publications and Copyright Policy will come into force on the 15th October 2022. It asks all Sheffield Hallam authors to deposit a copy of all their research outputs into Elements. These outputs will be made available to the public where possible.

There are special provisions for papers in academic journals and conference proceedings. These must be made 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 a 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 arising from this submission.”

From the 15th of October, you should add this statement to all your submissions to journals or conference proceedings.

The Statement simply announces to the publisher that you have already applied the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to the peer-reviewed 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 peer-reviewed 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.

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.

What's in it for me?

1. You achieve immediate and wide dissemination without restrictions

The main aim of the new research publications policy is to disseminate your scholarly work as quickly and widely as possible. This helps increase citations and extends the reach of your research.

Because rights retention means that you can start disseminating your accepted manuscript from the day of first  publication rather than after a delay of 6 to 24 months (‘embargo’), which your publisher will usually require, you start accumulating academic impact immediately.

2. You retain more rights over your own work

Another aim of the policy is to help authors of scholarly papers to retain more rights over their own work through the copyright provisions in the policy. Currently, authors often assign copyright to their publisher to get their papers published. The publisher then does not allow dissemination of the paper other than from behind a paywall or under conditions that do not allow immediate Open Access without restrictions. The new Research Publications and Copyright Policy ensures that the author retains the right to disseminate the accepted manuscript of their papers immediately and in any way they like, such as via uploading to social media sites such as ResearchGate and Academia.edu. Authors will therefore retain rights they currently do not retain.

Essentially, ‘rights retention’ means that the author retains all or part of the rights that are bundled under the term copyright. Copyright is a collection of exclusive rights that automatically applies to published academic work. The point is that, when authors sign over their copyright to a publisher—as they often do when publishing in a subscription journal—that the author loses most if not all of these rights, and that they do not necessarily have permission from the new copyright owner to copy their own work, for example to disseminate copies to their researcher community, or to post their work on social media, or to deposit a copy in an institutional repository or on a website. With our ‘rights retention’ mechanism in place, authors would retain the right to re-use copies of their own work in this way.

3. You retain the freedom to publish where you see fit

Authors retain the freedom to publish in a journal of their choice, whilst complying with all known external requirements including for next national research assessment following REF 2021. This is not always possible without this policy, especially not when open access requirements aligned with the international open access initiative Plan S are in force, such as for National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR) and UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) funded research. Plan S requires that ‘scientific publications that result from research funded by public grants must be published in compliant Open Access journals or platforms’, which means they must be published in fully open access journals but not in so-called hybrid journals (which offer both subscription and open access content) unless the publisher has committed to transition the journal to a fully open access journal within a certain timeframe, or that the peer-reviewed manuscript must be available from a repository from the date of first publication under the CC BY licence. Under Plan S rules, authors would not be able to publish in subscription-based journals without a compliant self-archiving policy that allows immediate open access under the CC BY licence, or in hybrid journals that are not compliant with Plan S requirements for such journals, or that are simply too costly to publish in (the open access fee for Nature-branded journals is EUR 9,500).

4. You automatically comply with all external requirements

Our rights retention mechanism guarantees you can publish in any journal, in the full knowledge that you will comply with Plan S rules–which covers funders such as UK Research and Innovation (UKRI), the National Institute for Health and Care Research (NIHR), and the Wellcome Trust–, and with the forthcoming open access requirements for the next national research assessment following REF 2021.

What do I have to do?

1. Include the Rights Retention Statement in your submission

From the 15th October 2022 onwards, every author of a paper submitted to a journal or conference proceedings should include the Rights Retention Statement in the funding acknowledgement section of their submission. This statement licences the version of the paper that will result from the peer review process (even if that version does not yet exist):

“For the purpose of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.”

2. Inform your co-authors

Your co-authors would need to agree. You should therefore inform your co-authors about the Sheffield Hallam University requirement to share the accepted manuscript upon publication under the Creative Commons Attribution licence, and you should ask the corresponding author to include the Rights Retention Statement in the manuscript. This should be part of the normal decision-making process on the choice of publication venue. A template email to inform co-authors will be provided by Library Services, and the policy provides an opt-out provision that can be used if one of the co-authors–for whatever reason–raises this as an issue or requests a different open licence.

3. Deposit the accepted manuscript in Elements on acceptance

Simply deposit your accepted manuscript into Elements as soon as possible after the publisher notifies you they have accepted your manuscript for publication after peer review, but before the day of first online publication so that your work can be shared from the repository from the day of first online publication.

4. Notify Library Services of the publication date

Please notify Library Services of the publication date as soon as you know it. This is to ensure that your accepted manuscript can be made available immediately on the day of first online publication.

How do I opt out and why would I?

You can opt out when it is otherwise impossible to follow the policy in full:

  1. Because of the publisher’s response to a submission with the Rights Retention Statement
  2. Because of copyright, when the paper contains third-party materials which cannot be made available under the Creative Commons Attribution licence and the redaction of the third-party materials will compromise the reading of the article. Or when the author has grounds to prefer another Creative Commons licence than CC BY (which may occur especially in the arts and humanities)
  3. Because co-authors have not given their consent to use the Rights Retention Statement, or they prefer a different licence than Creative Commons Attribution

Authors can opt out simply by requesting an opt-out in Elements or by sending an email to elements@shu.ac.uk. Requests for opting out will not be subject to an approval process: opt-outs of the publications policy will be granted by default.

It should be noted that authors cannot opt out of the requirement to deposit the accepted manuscript in Elements. Authors can only obtain an opt-out of the following two policy requirements:

  • to achieve immediate open access
  • to use the Creative Commons Attribution licence

Therefore, opt-outs will often mean that a delay of between 6 and 24 months will be applied (often referred to as ‘an embargo’), and that no Creative Commons Attribution licence will be used. Authors should be aware that opting out may mean they no longer comply with their funder’s Open Access requirements or with Open Access requirements for REF.

More information

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with library-research-support@shu.ac.uk.