Answered By: Monique Ritchie
Last Updated: 18 Aug, 2015     Views: 1245

Licences offered vary by journal, but most generally offer both traditional publishing options and open access options. You should choose a licence depending on the circumstances which apply to you. For instance, you may be required to choose a suitable open access licence to comply with University, REF or funder requirements.

The main licence options you may be offered include:

CC-BY: Creative Commons Attribution Licence

Papers published under a CC-BY licence comply fully with both REF (Research Excellence Framework) and RCUK (Research Councils UK) open access requirements.

You should choose a CC-BY licence if your journal article acknowledges funding from RCUK, or if publication charges are being paid for by Brunel's Open Access Publishing Fund.

This option allows the widest possible dissemination and re-use with author attribution, and your paper should be instantly available online without restriction. To check whether your chosen journal complies with funder policy use the SHERPA-FACT tool (see links below).

CC-BY-NC: Creative Commons Attribution-Non-Commercial Licence

Papers published under a CC-BY-NC licence comply with REF but may not comply with RCUK open access requirements. If you're funded by RCUK, and CC-BY is unavailable, please ask the Open Access Officer for advice.

You should choose a CC-BY-NC licence to remain REF eligible. Your articles will be RCUK compliant in limited circumstances only. CC-BY-NC may also be REF compliant if offered by the journal as a Green open access archiving option, in combination with a traditional Copyright Transfer Agreement (below).

Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA)

Papers published under a CTA may not comply with REF or RCUK open access requirements.

This is a traditional publishing agreement where you assign full copyright ownership and distribution rights of your article to your publisher. If you haven't been able to obtain open access funding, or your publisher doesn't support open access, this may be the only available option.

If you choose this option and are a staff author, to be compliant with REF and/or RCUK policies, it is important to check before submission that your chosen journal will allow to you archive at least the final peer-reviewed author's draft after corrections, upon acceptance for publication and has an embargo period no greater than the length specified for the discipline and funder (this typically ranges from 6 – 24 months).

To check a journal's open access archiving and embargo policy use the SHERPA/RoMEO tool and the SHERPA-FACT tool for compliance with research funder policy. The Open Access Officer can also advise.

Student authors

Student researchers are not normally subject to University or funder open access policies and when publishing formally, you can therefore choose to publish traditionally using a CTA, except in the following circumstances:

  • where your article has one or more Brunel academic staff co-authors
    • the main Brunel staff co-author is responsible for meeting the relevant open access requirements, including applying for open access funding, if applicable.
  • where you are on an RCUK funded studentship or your article acknowledges RCUK funding
    • RCUK funded students are required to publish via open access mechanisms, and you should should seek further advice as applicable from your supervisor, the relevant Principal Investigator (PI), or the Open Access Officer.

Student or staff authors may also wish to consider publishing in an Green open access journal that doesn't charge publication fees. Search for suitable titles in the Directory of Open Access Journals below.