#swanoaweek Day 5: OA and the Law


Making work open access by self-archiving (the “green” route to open access) involves a navigation of legal issues between the author and the copyright holder (usually this is assigned to the publisher unless the author has retained copyright).

  • What are you allowed to do with your publication?
    • If you hold the copyright then you can do what you wish with the content, although not necessarily the publisher-formatted version.
    • If you do not hold the copyright you will need to check the Sherpa Romeo database for your rights and permissions
    • Instructions on Sherpa Romeo are not always straightforward! There can often be different permissions for personal or university websites, funder policies etc. If you are uncertain, contact us and we can help (iss-research@swansea.ac.uk).
    • If the journal is not on Sherpa Romeo, check the publisher website. Failing that, contact them direct. Many publisher sites heavily promote the paid-for “Gold” open access options so it may not be easy to find self-archiving rights.
    • The version is critical – very few publishers permit you to do anything with the published version (also known as the “Version of Record”). The “author accepted version” (or post-print) is the version required for the REF policy and normally the one that is allowed to be archived by the author. See the Versions toolkit for detailed discussion of the different versions that an article may undergo.
  • What about Creative Commons licenses? Some funders, such as RCUK insist on a CC-BY Creative Commons licence being applied to gold open access articles. Researchers are often uneasy about the implications of this (see also here and here) but they are becoming more and more widespread. There are some good guides to Creative Commons licenses if you want more information: for example the Copy Rights and Wrongs” guide.

This is the end of our “5 Days of OA” – we hope you’ve found it useful. We’d welcome your feedback! If you have concerns about meeting your open access obligations then please get in touch and we can help: iss-research@swansea.ac.uk. Swansea University’s information on open access is on the ISS website.


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