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Effective Research Publishing: Open Research & Open Access: Rights Retention and Licensing

Mae’r dudalen hon hefyd ar gael yn Gymraeg

Tools to help you with Rights Retention

Helping researchers retain their rights and share their work Open Access

Key Takeaway: elimination of embargoes and the use of open licensing to make research freely available upon publication

Plan S is an initiative devised by Science Europe to ensure delivery of full and immediate Open Access (OA) for funded research publications. The implementation framework is supported by a group of international research funders called cOALition S and came into force on 1 January 2021.  

Plan S Principles and Implementation

Plan S applies to all peer-reviewed publications that are based on results from research funded fully or partially by cOAlition S members. In addition, the right to reuse the article is subject to an open licence (usually the Creative Commons Attribution licence) that grants the reader the right to reuse all or parts of it without having to seek additional permission, subject to appropriate attribution of the original source.

A list of organisations endorsing Plan S and working on implementation include UKRI, the European Commission, Wellcome, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, World Health Organisation and more. 

Routes to Plan S compliance:

  1. Authors should retain copyright of their work using a Creative Commons Attribution CC-BY 4.0 licence. Other CC licenses are acceptable by some funders. To ensure publishers are aware of these requirements cOALition S and the funding agencies have given notice to publishers about new grant conditions and expect them to modify publishing agreements. 
  2. Plan S funded researchers can publish in a fully open access journal or platform. Charges may apply.
  3. Plan S funded researchers can publish in hybrid journals (subscription + open access mixed model) as long as a deposit of the author accepted manuscript (AAM) with a Creative Commons licence is made in a repository and released without an embargo.
    • You can select a journal which has a zero embargo policy or utilise the rights retention 'prior licence' strategy. Plan S provide a journal checker tool or use Sherpa Romeo.
    • Authors are encouraged to identify the prior licence requirement for the AAM at the time of submission.  Add a text statement to indicate that any manuscript arising from the submission is  licensed CC-BY for the purpose of green self-archiving in a repository.
      This work was funded by Swansea University [ + funder name] [ + grant number]. For the purpose of Open Access the author has applied a CC BY copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission.” 
  4. Publication in a ‘hybrid’ journal under a transitional publisher agreement or a transformative journal where the journal is taking steps to become fully OA. Under this model the gold Version of Record (VOR) will be made open access and the author will not need to make use of their right to share the AAM in a repository.
    • A list of open access transitional publisher agreements available to Swansea University authors is available from the Publisher OA Deals and Discounts resource. You may be able to publish in journals without incurring an Article Processing Charge (APC).

Plan S Rights Retention Strategy Resources

PLAN S - Rights and Licences

  Plan S Journal Checker Tool

  FAQ - About cOALition S and Plan S

Video Case Study (IPO) How do I protect the copyright in my book?

Rights Retention: Research Publication Policy Project 2023

Background: cOAlition S launched its Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) in 2021. This is a tool for authors to retain sufficient rights to their own article manuscripts to use as they wish.  

The Project: In response to these changes Swansea University is updating the Research Publication policy as well as overlapping areas in IP and Open Access policies. This presentation aims to explain the background and reasoning behind rights retention, its implementation, and the impact it has on researchers. This includes enabling researchers to retain control of their author rights and be compliant with institutional and funder requirements of Open Access.  

The Rights Retention Strategy project will result in a new Research Publication policy, expected to launch in summer 2023. The recording of a recent consultation session is available to watch here: 


Consultation: The project team would welcome your feedback, and questions during this consultation period during early 2023. Contact  

For an active list of UK institutions who have adopted a rights retention policy go to GitHub

Plan S Infographic - What Do I have to Do?


Creative Commons Licensing

creative Commons Logo

'Open licence' means a licence that permits anyone to freely access, use, modify, and share the licensed material for any purpose. This may include licences conformant with the Open Definition that are commonly used for scholarly works and datasets, such as the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 licence (CC BY); Open Government Licence (OGL) for public sector information; and Open Source licences typically used for software source code, such as the Apache License 2.0 or the GNU General Public License (GPL). 

Creative Commons, has a number of model licences which authors can apply ‘as given’ or adapted to their requirements.  The licences contain these elements:

  • Attribution (BY) - You must credit the licensor of the work.                 
  • Non Commercial (NC) - You can only use the work for non-commercial purpose.                 
  • No Derivatives (ND) - You may not create adaptations of the work.                 
  • Share alike (SA) - You may create adaptations of the work, but these must be under the same licence as this work.   
  • Free of all copyright restrictions (CC0) - This is the most liberal licence and means no copyright is reserved.

These licences are commonly found on Open Access research outputs, and can help you share your work while protecting its integrity. The licenses have a layer of Legal Code, a 'human readable' Commons Deed and a 'machine readable' element for software to understand. The symbol that generally appears at the bottom of a research output will look something like this:

Author Agreements With Publishers

Authors are strongly encouraged to retain specific rights to self-archive published works. As the creator of a work, copyright is normally your own property unless you transfer it to another party or it is owned by your employer.  The SHERPA/RoMEO database provides clear summaries of standard copyright agreements for publishers and links to detailed policies on publisher websites.

Licenses - Open Data Commons