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Rights Retention Strategy



Rights Retention at King’s

King's College London is dedicated to the advancement of knowledge, learning, and understanding in the service of society. To ensure that researchers can continue to share their work, King’s has instituted a Rights Retention Strategy via a revised Research Publications Policy effective 1 March 2023. Rights Retention aims to ensure that authors can deposit their paper where they see fit. With Rights Retention authors can disseminate their work as widely as possible while also meeting funder and any future REF requirements.

How Rights Retention works

Traditionally, publishers require that authors sign a Copyright Transfer Agreement. The only way to access the article after publication is to pay for it. Rights Retention is based on the simple principle that authors and institutions should retain some rights to their publications.

As part of our new policy, King’s College London asserts a non-exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide license to deposit the work under a CC BY licence. This allows authors to post the AAM in King’s institutional repository with no embargo, share it among colleagues, and use it in their own teaching.

Main benefits of Rights Retention

  • Ensures authors can legally and compliantly disseminate their work
  • A simple solution to solve the complexity of publishing while meeting funder and REF requirements
  • In alignment with King’s 2029 Strategy

What researchers need to do

  1. Below is the King's Rights Retention statement that authors can add to the 'acknowledgements' section of the manuscript as well as the publisher cover letter to inform publishers of your intentions. This step is not necessary to deposit your paper in Pure in alignment with King's publication policy.

King's RRS Statement:

‘For the purposes of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Accepted Author Manuscript version arising from this submission.’


  1. Deposit the Author Accepted Manuscript in Pure with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence following acceptance.


When does the RRS apply?

  • All submitted articles – It is suggested that King’s researchers include the Rights Retention statement on all manuscripts submitted to a journal (if you are unsure the publication is a journal, check for an ISSN number)
    • Even when submitting to a fully Open Access (OA) journal, it is good practice to include the Rights Retention statement.
  • All researchers – This policy applies to all of King’s researchers which includes those where publication is an expectation of employment.

Helpful links:

Translation of Rights Retention Statement | The University of Edinburgh

The University of Edinburgh has helpfully provided a translation of the RRS statement in the following languages: Spanish, French, Greek, German, Polish, Norwegian, Portuguese, Romanian, Chinese, Italian, and Welsh.

Plan S Rights Retention Strategy

Created by Coalition-S, the documents detail the benefits of RRS and how it works.




A1. The policy has been introduced to support King’s researchers in making their scholarly publications openly accessible – so that they are eligible for Research Assessment exercises such as the REF, that they comply with funder policies, and are in-line with King’s commitment to making its world-leading research available to a wide audience for the betterment of society. The scholarly publishing ecosystem has become financially and administratively unsustainable in recent years and significant changes are needed to resolve these issues. Funders are increasingly tightly monitoring compliance with their Open Access (OA) policies. Some publishers are engaging constructively with this work, but others are pushing back against funder led changes to their practices and profit margins.

A2. King’s College London confirms the current practice that the University waives certain of its rights and the assignment of certain of its rights to enable researchers to publish the scholarly works they have created. The policy will make it easier for authors to legally share their work on the repositories of their choice and to comply with funder and future REF requirements.

A3. Upon acceptance of publication, King’s College London asserts a non‐exclusive, irrevocable, worldwide licence to make the Author Accepted Manuscript of the scholarly article publicly available under the terms of a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence (or a more restrictive licence by exception). In practical terms, the licence is granted automatically – authors do not need to do anything here. What authors need to ensure is that a copy of their AAM is uploaded into Pure attached to an appropriate record. Libraries & Collections can assist here – see Q10 for details.

You can also find more information on our one-page guide to depositing on Pure.

A4. No. The policy is intended to support author choice of journal, so that authors may take the non-paid ‘green’ route to OA – by uploading their AAM into an online repository where it is not feasible to take the ‘gold’ route to OA by paying a publisher Article Processing Charge (APC).

A5. Harvard University first implemented a Rights Retention Policy in 2008 and its researchers have not struggled to have their papers accepted in their choice of journal. In the UK, Edinburgh introduced a Rights Retention policy in April 2022, Cambridge followed suit in May, and St Andrews in December. To date, these HEIs have not reported issues with their authors getting published. The N8 universities in the UK (a group of Russell Group universities located in the North of England) have committed to implementing such policies, and other Russell Group HEIs are doing likewise. We do not believe that publishers can plausibly decline to publish papers from authors from all these institutions, not without impacting negatively on their publications. We are aware that some publishers are questioning these policies and there is ongoing dialogue. If you choose to publish with one of the small group of publishers who may remain resistant to this policy, you may need to make alternative arrangements – see Q7, or seek an alternative publishing venue.

A6. Funders may choose to enact sanctions if authors do not comply with their OA policies, by not awarding future grants. Internally, it is an expectation of employment that staff on research contracts take part in research assessment exercises such as the REF. Conversations would be held internally within Departments if an author’s papers were consistently not being made eligible for REF submission by fulfilling Research England’s OA requirements.

A7. The University recognises that there may be situations where it is difficult to follow this policy exactly. In such cases it will be permissible for researchers to make alternative arrangements to ensure they meet funder requirements for open access, for example - by applying a more restrictive Creative Commons licence such as CC-BY-NC-ND, provided that this is done with funder approval.

A8. It is established practice that the Corresponding Author on a paper speaks for all co-authors when engaging with the editors of a chosen journal, to secure acceptance for the publication of their article and signing the publisher’s CTA. The corresponding author at King’s takes responsibility for making the publisher and their co-authors at other institutions aware of King’s Rights Retention stance.

A9. A letter is being sent to a list of scholarly publishers where we know King’s authors publish regularly. More publishers can be added to this list on request.

A10. The Open Research team in Libraries & Collections supports researchers at King’s with disseminating and preserving their scholarly outputs, including the transition to open research/ OA publishing. For guidance and advice with any aspects of this policy and open research practices, the team can be contacted via their email address

Please see the Research Support webpages for further details.

A11. No, not currently. We are reviewing recent and anticipated changes to research funder policies related to long-form publications, and will consider revising the policy if appropriate to ensure compliance and REF eligibility.

A12. The policy was written by Libraries & Collections in consultation with RMID, Governance, and other stakeholders, together with the College Research Committee (CRC). It was approved by CRC, and by Academic Board.