University of Aberdeen Research Publications Policy

“Research staff at the University of Aberdeen have traditionally, when publishing scholarly articles, signed a copyright transfer agreement. As a result, research staff have assigned their copyright to academic publishers, which results in many scholarly articles now being under partial or complete ownership of the academic publishers. In order for the University of Aberdeen and its researchers to comply with funder requirements, and to enable the University of Aberdeen to disseminate its research and scholarship as widely as possible, whilst enabling its research staff to publish their scholarly articles in a journal of their choice, the University of Aberdeen will adopt the following policy….”

Aberdeen takes important step in making research ‘open to all’ | News | The University of Aberdeen

“The University of Aberdeen was established on a foundation to be ‘open to all and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the service of others’.

The University of Aberdeen was established on a foundation to be ‘open to all and dedicated to the pursuit of truth in the service of others’.

More than five centuries on this commitment continues to be at the heart of the University’s activities. The Aberdeen 2040 vision, which will guide the coming decades, sets out that the institution ‘will work to share our findings, and to promote open access to academic resources for anyone who wishes to learn’.

In line with this, the University’s academic body Senate has approved a new research publications policy that will enhance the accessibility of University research….

The University’s new approved policy follows this collaborative spirit in line with the best practice established by Harvard University. It has the concept of rights retention at its heart and, in accordance with Aberdeen’s Intellectual Property Policy, researchers will retain the copyright over their research publications….”

Letting Open Access bloom: a bright future for research publishing | Opinion | News | The University of Aberdeen

“In previous blog posts, I have discussed the value of open research, the reasons behind its complexity, and the importance of retaining rights over our research outputs. In this final post of my short series, I look to the future, with an optimism….

I am timing this post to align with the news that the sector has struck a landmark deal with Elsevier for continued access to ScienceDirect. This agreement both saves the sector money and increases its ability to publish openly in Elsevier titles. It is policy compliant and removes a layer of administration, saving time for researchers and for librarians. The work across the sector to achieve this has been enormous, but the result more than vindicates the efforts we have put into it. I am delighted that Aberdeen played a significant part in this work. My colleagues have contributed to a national initiative to test an alternative to a bulk subscription, and I have represented the sector at the strategic level through membership of the Jisc/UUK Content Negotiation Strategy Group. As well as being a major success for this round of negotiations, our collaborative work has also delivered a framework for all future negotiations with major publishers.

This is very timely, as we are now close to the launch date of the new UKRI Open Access Policy, on 1 April. I discussed this in my most recent post, but as a reminder, this policy will restrict your Gold Open Access publishing options, and it will require any Green Open Access deposits to have no embargo imposed on the date of their open access release. The Library has been doing a lot to communicate this, but if you are unaware of the changes and need advice or information, visit our web page about UKRI OA policy.


This is not a reason to rest on our laurels, however pleased I am about what we have achieved with Elsevier. There are four reasons I remain enthusiastic to do more….

The best way to guarantee we can achieve open access to our research, in all circumstances, is to stop giving away our control over it. I discussed this in my previous blog, and can now announce that Research Policy Committee have supported my proposal to enshrine this in University policy. I will now start to develop a draft and consult on whether this can replace our existing policy (which is now extremely out of date). From my perspective, asserting that we will no longer give our rights away seems like a blindingly obvious thing to wish to do, but it’s really important that I hear other perspectives, and provide reassurance where there are concerns. You will have formal opportunity to comment as the draft makes its way through the committees, but I’d really like to hear from you now, whether it is to learn more, to express support, or to challenge my views….”

Introduction to International Open Access Week from the University Librarian | InfoLinks

“It feels rather ironic to be writing on the subject of open access as we head towards the end of a year in which so many things have remained at least partly closed. However, the pandemic has served both to shine a light on the critical importance of open research and expose the amount of work still to do to achieve it. It is my hope that Open Access Week 2020 both reaches a wider audience and galvanises us into collective action like never before.

I have been thinking about, writing about and attempting to stimulate open access as the right solution for ethical and effective scholarly communications for almost two decades. Fifteen years ago, I was part of an ambitious plan to deliver an open access solution for Scotland through a national repository infrastructure, and while the lofty vision was never realised, this work placed Scotland at the forefront of open access thinking and demonstrated, as is often the case, that this is a nation well capable of ‘punching above its weight’. A paper describing a national information strategy for Scotland provides a 2005 overview of this project, within a wider context. It is satisfying to see that although the networked infrastructure we hoped to build is not in place, this paper still remains freely accessible through the institutional repository of a Scottish university.

This was a time when open access seemed most likely to be achievable by providing versions of published papers in repositories, while the final papers themselves would continue to be published in subscription journals – the so-called Green route. It was not until the publication of the Finch Report in 2012, and the enthusiasm of the then Minister for Higher Education (David Willets) for a Gold route, that open access of the published paper itself began to dominate policy and gain momentum. Very regrettably, this has become synonymous for many with one method of funding it: the article processing charge, or APC. This solution has served to perpetuate a scholarly communications infrastructure which relies upon commercial third parties, placing the research community at the mercy of a small number of profit-making organisations for whom profits and shareholder value are paramount….”