Publications and Copyright policy

The University’s Publications and Copyright Policy empowers authors to retain the rights to their research and scholarship.

From 1st October 2023, the University’s new Publications and Copyright Policy applies to research articles and conference proceedings accepted for publication. 

The policy aims to enable researchers at the University of Sussex to disseminate their research and scholarship as widely as possible, to achieve the greatest impact and to retain their rights on subsequent reuse (rights that are often transferred to a publisher when signing a contract).

For more information, please refer to the FAQs below or contact the Library team at A short Library blog here post provides some context, and our Open Research & Education page details our commitments. 

Download the policy.

  • What does the Publications and Copyright policy do?

    Under the Publications and Copyright Policy, authors will retain the right to make a copy of their Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM), for journal articles and conference proceedings, immediately Open Access through their institutional repository under a CC BY license, irrespective of embargo periods stipulated by publishers.

  • What is the purpose of the policy?

    The purpose of the policy is to ensure that authors have control over the dissemination and impact of their work, and to promote greater access to, and visibility of, academic research.

    The policy allows for a more equitable approach to publication as it does not rely on an individual’s or an institution’s ability to pay for Open Access. Authors can deposit their accepted manuscript into the institutional repository under a CC BY licence (known as self-archiving). This results in their publication being immediately and openly available, this will help facilitate authors to publish their work in a venue of their choice whilst continuing to comply with funder open access requirements.

  • How is this acheived?

    The policy grants the University a non-exclusive licence to make manuscripts of scholarly articles and conference papers publicly available (under a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) licence) without embargo. This will help facilitate authors to publish their work in a venue of their choice whilst continuing to comply with funder Open Access requirements. 

  • What publications does the policy apply to?

    The policy refers to articles (including reviews) peer reviewed and accepted for publication in a journal or on a publishing platform, and conference papers accepted for publication in proceedings with an ISSN.  

    Long form works including monographs, book chapters and edited collections are not within scope of this policy, but authors are strongly encouraged to make these works as open as possible.

  • Can I opt out of the policy?

    Authors can voluntarily opt out of the requirement for immediate Open Access upon publication, or the assignation of a CC BY licence. Upon deposit of an AAM, authors can choose an opt out option on Elements. However, this may cause the research output to be non-compliant with funder policies and future research assessments. 

  • As an author, how do I benefit from the policy?
    • Authors are enabled to continue to publish in the venue of their choice
    • Authors are empowered to retain sufficient rights to share their research outputs more widely
    • Authors can ensure compliance with funder requirements for immediate Open Access regardless of publisher policies
    • Authors will be able to comply with any requirements for immediate Open Access under future REF exercises
    • Increased opportunities for reaching a broader audience, both inside and outside academia, which in turn could lead to greater impact on society and increased citations and collaborations for researchers
    • Authors who do not have access to funds to cover publisher Open Access fees can still publish in their venue of choice.
  • Will the policy enable me to comply with my funder's Open Access policy?

    Yes. Many research funders have signed up to cOAlition S and therefore require immediate Open Access to the outputs of research they have funded. UKRI and Wellcome include Rights-Retention-based mechanisms in their OA policies that operate in a similar way.

  • Have other institutions introduced similar policies?

    Yes. Following the launch of the Rights Retention Strategy by cOAlition-S in 2021, Edinburgh University published its Research Publications & Copyright Policy on 1 January 2022. Cambridge University also launched its Rights Retention Pilot in 2022, and other Universities including Aberdeen, Sheffield Hallam and St Andrew’s followed with their own policies in the same year.

    As of September 2023, 20 UK institutions have announced or published policies in support of a Rights Retention approach.

  • What action is required by authors to engage with the policy?

    Authors simply continue to deposit manuscripts into the repository via Elements. The Library team will check manuscripts and make them available accordingly. Authors wishing to opt out can do so by selecting this option at the point of deposit.

    Where a co-authored paper will be made available openly because of this policy, authors are strongly encouraged to make co-authors aware of this. We recognise that this may not be straightforward when working in large collaborations; in this scenario it is advisable to liaise with the Corresponding Author. Authors should contact the Library for guidance.

  • How does the policy relate to other forms of Open Access publishing?

    The policy offers another way to share an article immediately Open Access, in addition to existing options such as publishing in an Open Access journal or via a publisher Transformative Agreement. Authors can continue to publish papers Open Access through these routes if their preferred journal offers these options, and if any required funding is available.

    The introduction of the Publications and Copyright Policy means that articles not eligible for these Open Access routes can now be made immediately Open Access upon publication via the institutional repository, and will not be subject to publisher embargoes.

    This change will not only mean that more articles are immediately available for all to access, thus extending the potential reach and impact of the research, but it will also make it easier for authors to adhere to Open Access policies set out by funders.

  • Have publishers been notified of the policy?

    Yes. The Library has written directly to over 100 publishers to inform them of our revised publication policies and what this means in terms of Rights Retention.