“The N8 – which represents 12% of all UK academics and 200,000 students – has released a statement outlining its new stance on the importance of researchers being able to obtain their original rights when their work is published in a journal. The statement was launched at an event held at the University of Manchester’s John Rylands Library, with speakers including the N8’s new chair Professor Charlie Jeffrey and Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell, president and vice-chancellor of the University of Manchester.
In April 2022, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) made it mandatory for all research published in journals to be made immediately available via Open Access or transformative Gold journals’ APC charges or through journals released on a transitional Read & Publish deal without APC charges. Open access can also be achieved via depositing the author accepted manuscript and making it available without embargo.
However, in order to achieve this third route to open access researchers need to be able to apply a CC BY license – which allows anyone to make commercial use of the work under the condition of attributing the research in the manner specified by the author or licensor – and place their accepted manuscript in an institutional or other preferred repository. This must now be done without embargo granted to any publisher.
However, some publishers are no longer compliant with several not accepting that a researcher’s original rights should be retained by them, meaning that publishers may not accept manuscripts where an application has been made for a CC BY license and the researcher has clearly stated that they own their research.
The N8’s statement – which has been coordinated through the eight universities’ PVCs for Research, Research Offices, Legal Departments and Libraries – reflects the shared conviction of the importance of researchers retaining their rights.
Each N8 university will have its own position which may supersede the publisher’s requirements, but ultimately if a researcher is able to publish via an APC to a Gold journal or in a journal covered by a Read & Publish deal then researchers do not need to assert their rights.
However, the N8 statement strongly recommends that researchers do not by default transfer intellectual property rights to publishers and do use a Rights Retention statement as standard practice….”