Policy Summary

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

UK-SCL as a mechanism to enable the retention of re-use rights by researchers

The UK-SCL is a model open access policy with a standard set of licence terms designed for adoption by UK HE Institutions. It has been drawn up in response to researcher concerns about growing requirements to assign their copyright to a publisher at the point of acceptance, and in response to funder calls for a transition to a more open access environment. Implementation of the UK-SCL ensures that authors retain the right to share their manuscripts freely, and to reuse their research outputs in their own teaching and research. Authors retain copyright and, by extension, moral rights and are free to publish in the journal of their choice and, where necessary, to assign copyright to the publisher. The model is seen as an interim measure until a sustainable open access publishing model is implemented that facilitates sharing of scholarly outputs without delays or barriers.

Research institutions will implement the UK-SCL Model Policy via their own approval/committee procedures, in line with established institutional governance processes. The most likely route for the implementation of the UK-SCL is through the institution’s Open Access Policy. To be considered to have implemented the UK-SCL Model Policy, an institutional policy needs to include the following conditions:

  • Make accepted manuscripts of scholarly articles of its staff available online
    1. on or shortly after the date of first publication, be it online or in any other medium
    2. with a Creative Commons licence that allows non-commercial reuse as long as the authors are fully credited (CC BY NC 4.0)
  • Allow authors and publishers to request a temporary waiver for applying this right for up to 12 months for AHSS and 6 months for STEM (aligned to REF panels).
  • Where a paper is co-authored with external co-authors, the institution will:
    1. Automatically sub-licence this right to all co-authors credited on the paper and to their host institutions.
    2. Not apply the licence if a co-author (who is not based at an institution with a UK-SCL-based model policy) objects.
    3. Honour waiver requests granted by other institutions which have adopted the UK-SCL model policy.
  • Where an output is available immediately on publication with a CC-BY licence, the accepted manuscript will remain on closed deposit.

These rights do not allow the university or anyone else to use the manuscript commercially, and they do not affect the version of record. The UK-SCL model gives universities the option to waive the rights listed above for a certain period, if explicitly requested by staff. For the first two years of the policy publishers can be granted a blanket waiver of 6/12 months (aligned to REF panels).

Institutions will need to ensure that local IP policies and employment contracts work alongside their open access policy.