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Open Access: Rights Retention Pilot

Rights Retention pilot

Welcome to the Rights Retention Pilot

The University of Bath is running this pilot to assess the impact and benefits of authors actively retaining reuse rights in their research publications, specifically the right to post their Author Accepted Manuscripts (AAMs) in a research repository and make them publicly available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence - or a more restrictive Creative Commons licence by exception.

This approach is useful for situations when:

  • Gold Open Access publication cannot be funded
  • You wish to guarantee your rights over your AAM, allowing you to post it on various websites, platforms and repositories with an open licence
  • You wish to comply with your funder's Open Access policy and self-archiving with an open licence is your preferred route.

Please click on the tabs above to find out more about the pilot, why we’re running it, and how you can take part.

What is ‘Rights Retention’ and why is Bath doing this now? 

Traditionally, publishers require authors to sign a copyright transfer agreement or an exclusive licence to publish.  This usually means the only way to access the published work is to pay for it, and publisher permission is required for reuse. Rights Retention is based on the principle that authors and institutions should retain some reuse rights to their publications. 

When you submit your work for publication, you are able to actively retain your rights to any accepted manuscript arising from that submission, by including a statement that confirms you wish to retain your right to reuse your work, and you are thereby providing the publisher with the non-exclusive licence to publish. 

Higher education institutions and funders across the UK are driving the move towards Open Access through the Rights Retention Strategy (RRS) as promoted by cOAlitionS. A growing number of universities have implemented an institutional Rights Retention Policy.  

The RRS supports authors in asserting their rights over their accepted manuscripts and meeting institutional and research funder Open Access requirements by sharing papers legally and compliantly within institutional repositories with a CC BY licence.  This means depositing your accepted manuscript in Pure and making it Open Access at the point of online publication via the Research Portal under a Creative Commons licence with zero embargo. You will also be free to share it among colleagues and use it in your teaching.

Bath is running a pilot to support authors in using the RRS, and to develop any procedures, processes and training that may be required to implement a University-wide Rights Retention Policy.

The pilot

The Open Access team have undertaken a number of activities prior to launching the pilot, including confirming the compatibility of the RRS with the University's statutes and ordinances, and learning from other universities who have begun the process or implemented an institutional policy.  The most important step we are taking now is to ask all Bath authors who may be due to submit manuscripts in the next 6 months, to volunteer to opt into the Pilot and thereafter to apply a Rights Retention Statement to their submissions.  We would also welcome feedback from authors on the processes involved and any subsequent interactions with journals.

Opting into the Pilot

If you are planning to submit a manuscript for publication at any time in the next few months (up to 1 July 2024), please opt into the pilot using the opt-in form.

The Pilot includes:

  • All articles - Rights Retention is broadly designed to support Open Access to journal and conference articles.
  • Books and chapters - where there is a funder Open Access mandate.


Before submission

1.  Ensure that your co-authors agree to apply a CC BY licence to the accepted manuscript. Alternative licences are permitted providing they are in line with funder requirements.

2.  Please include your “University of Bath” affiliation on all submissions.

3.  Include the following statement in the 'Acknowledgements' section of your submitted manuscripy and in any accompanying covering letters to publishers:

"For the purpose of Open Access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript version arising from this submission"

This gives prior notification of your intention to retain the right to distribute the accepted manuscript and provides full transparency for co-authors and the publisher.


On Acceptance:

Deposit the accepted manuscript in Pure. The Open Access team will ensure a Creative Commons Attribution licence (CC BY) is applied and the manuscript will be released on publication with zero embargo.

If you would prefer a different Creative Commons licence, please email:

Please add ‘RRS’ to the Bibliographic Note field in the Pure record to notify Open Access staff.


On Publication:

When your work is published online, the Open-Access team will ensure that the accepted manuscript is released under a CC-BY licence.

The Open Access team and the Library will provide information and support to authors throughout the Pilot phase.

In some cases, we understand that you may be unable to meet the requirements for a specific publication.  If so, please email to notify us of your intention to exclude it from the pilot.

This will allow us to ensure that your Pure deposit is not made available immediately and instead follows your publisher's standard requirements.

However, please be aware that this may mean that you are not able to comply with your funders' policies.

For any queries or feedback about the Pilot please contact the Open Access team at: .

Below is the Guide to the Rights Retention Pilot :