Rights retention

What is rights retention?

Rights retention is a new funder-led initiative used by increasing numbers of UK universities that supports the self-archiving 'green' route to open access. It allows you to publish in a subscription or 'hybrid' journal and also to make your manuscript available open access through self-deposit. This ensures the widest possible access to your research as well as meeting funder requirements.


Rights retention developments at Oxford

Following the launch of a pilot in January 2023 and review by the University’s Research & Innovation Committee in October 2023, the University is looking to update its Open Access Publications Policy in Trinity Term 2024 to incorporate rights retention. 

This update will involve requesting changes to the University Statute XVI which covers intellectual property rights. This will mean that, by virtue of their employment and without requiring any action on their part, employees at the University provide the rights to make author accepted manuscript versions of their articles and conference proceedings available under a Creative Commons Attribution Licence (CC BY 4.0) at the point of publication. Authors wishing to opt-out will be able to do so on a work-by-work basis.

A consultation on the proposed changes was held between November 2023 and March 2024. A paper has now been submitted to the General Purposes Committee which will take place on 29 April 2024.

See a summary of the consultation outcomes on implementation of an opt out rights retention policy 

What do researchers need to do?

Town hall meeting 17/01/24

A Town Hall meeting was held on 17th January 2024 to discuss the proposals ahead of a request for Congregation to approve the change to Statute XVI.

See the recording of the Town Hall event here (SSO required)

Sign up to the pilot 

In the meantime, researchers are still able to sign up for the rights retention pilot and can contact the open access helpline for more support.

Complete the pilot signup form here

Find out more on our dedicated Rights Retention at Oxford pages (SSO required) 

Add rights retention statement

When submitting your article or conference proceedings you should add the following statement to your manuscript:

This research was funded in whole or in part by [Funder] [Grant number]. For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a CC BY public copyright licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) version arising from this submission.

By taking these steps and stating your intent to apply a CC BY licence to your accepted manuscript, you will have secured your open access publication on submission.

Please contact us:

  • if your publisher asks you to agree to something which conflicts with rights retention, or if you are asked to remove the statement
  • if you’re an unfunded researcher but you are interested in rights retention

Check tick box in Symplectic Elements

When uploading your manuscript to Symplectic Elements, make sure you tick the ‘Rights Retention Statement in Manuscript?’ box. This will indicate that you have informed your publisher that your submission is covered by rights retention.

Funders and rights retention

The University advises researchers to use rights retention on all your Plan S-funded submissions as a backstop to ensure compliance with your funder's open access policy. Using the rights retention text means that you as author have applied a CC BY copyright licence to the accepted manuscript. All you then need to do is send this to ORA, and the ORA team will do the rest.

The funders below all mention rights retention in their open access policies. Please see their funder pages for information on their requirements. 

Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation (from January 2021)

European Commission (Horizon Europe framework from 2021)

NIHR (from June 2022)

UKRI (from April 2022)

Wellcome (from January 2021)