Policy aims and development

UK Scholarly Communications Licence and Model Policy
Keeping ownership of academic research within the academic community – for visibility, impact, access and re-use

Origins of the model policy

The UK is leading the transition towards greater openness and transparency in research. UK funders of research have put in place policies to support this transition and some research funders have also put in place funding to support immediate open access of the version of record. Eligibility and compliance criteria differ between funders and Higher Education institutions needed to modify their own open access policies so that they supported academics not only in compliance, but also in the retention of re-use rights while many publishers still require copyright assignment. Specific policy statements which have informed the development of the model policy can be found here

In considering the existing policy landscape, the Harvard Model policy was chosen. That model

  • Has been in use since 2008
  • Has been adopted by over 70 institutions worldwide
  • Where researcher outputs have been deposited under the policy, publishers have requested waivers for less that 5% of outputs

The small number of adaptations in the policy have been made so that the policy achieves its aims in the UK copyright and funder environment.

Key aims of the model policy

The key aims of the UK-Scholarly Communications Licence and model policy are:

  • To facilitate the retention of re-use rights by academics not only as desired by academics but also as encouraged by funders of UK research
  • To provide a one-step deposit action by which researchers can comply with multiple funder policies and remain eligible for the REF2021 and go beyond funder minimum compliance (e.g. HEFCE, see below). Particularly:
    • By using a CC-BY-NC licence. This licence is compliant with the RCUK policy and above the minimum compliance for REF eligibility. It is a licence which permits text and data mining, and re-use of all or parts of the work by the academic in ways other than as part of the original publication
    • The policy embargo default is zero months (earlier if publisher policies allow). This default is in line with institutions that have adopted the Harvard model since 2008
    • Automatic granting of a waiver with 6/12 month embargo for those publishers requesting it:
      • compliant with RCUK, Horizon 2020 etc
      • Above REF OA minimum eligibility
      • Allows for accidental 12 month waiver granting of an output which might subsequently be allocated to a Science Panel (= 6 month) embargo, and consequently ensures all outputs deposited under the terms of the model policy are eligible for inclusion in REF2021.

See here for a list of funders for which the UK-SCL enables compliance with deposit criteria.