New policy means academics will keep rights to their publications

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At the moment, a majority of publicly funded research is legally owned by academic publishers. In practice, this means that research often sits behind a paywall, limiting access to and slowing down academic progress.

Now, Lancaster, along with the seven other N8 institutions is implementing a new policy which enables authors to keep the rights to their own scholarly works, giving researchers and PGR students more control over who can access their output.

As well as putting more control in researcher’s hands, the policy will also increase Lancaster University’s open access content in accordance with its principles of open research. The policy is also in line with existing funder policies such as UKRI Open Access policy.

Andrew Barker, the Library’s Director says, “I’m absolutely delighted that Lancaster University is launching its own rights retention policy. Rights retention is incredibly important in our ambition to fulfil our university’s principles of open research and make our world leading research available as freely as possible.

“As highlighted by UK Research & Innovation (UKRI) in their latest open access policy, it is right that any research which is funded through public money should be available to the public to read, free of charge. Rights retention is one of the mechanisms we can use that will enable us to do that.

“It’s been a real privilege to work with our N8 colleagues to be able to develop this initiative. Working together strengthens our ability to get things done and we can all learn from each other. Working collaboratively together in this way has definitely enabled us to progress this new policy much more quickly and strengthened our position.”

How does it work?

Lancaster’s new policy applies to staff and PGR students who produce research articles, including conference proceedings, accepted for publication from 1st March 2023.

The policy states that upon acceptance for publication, authors will grant a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide licence to the University. This will allow the article to be deposited in Lancaster’s institutional repository with no embargo, enabling the University to increase its open access content.

More detail, including what researchers need to do and what it means in practice can be found on the Research Publications and Rights Retention policy website. You can also contact if you need any more information.

About the N8 partnership

This policy is being launched as part of an N8 Research Partnership initiative announced in January 2023. By joining together to implement rights retention policies, the N8 institutions aim to collectively support researchers in retaining their rights to their works, while moving towards an open access model.

The N8 partnership comprises eight research intensive universities in the North of England.

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