skip to content

Self-Archiving Policy Proposal

The Right Retention Pilot is ending on April 1st 2023. In advance of this date, the University is currently consulting on a full self-archiving policy incorporating rights retention. Details of this draft policy can be found in this document (accessible to Raven users only) and all comments on the proposed policy should be sent to Niamh Tumelty, Head of Open Research Services, at The deadline for responses is 8 February 2023. Members of the Office of Scholarly Communication are available to discuss the policy formally or informally at any stage of its development.

In early 2023, the library will host a series of briefings on the proposed policy to answer questions and gather feedback:

25 January 12-1: Office of Scholarly Communication Training - Proposed Self-Archiving Policy Briefing - Wed 25 Jan 2023 ( on Teams

1 February 2-3: Office of Scholarly Communication Training - Proposed Self-Archiving Policy Briefing - Wed 1 Feb 2023 ( on Teams.


Why is an opt-out policy required?

The proposed opt-out policy provides significant advantages over the opt-in approach that has been taken for the Rights Retention Pilot:

  • It enables maximum funder and REF compliance with minimum burden for researchers and professional services.
  • It provides a safety net if the researcher is unaware of open access requirements or publishes with a journal that is removed from a read and publish agreement before the final version has been published.
  • It does not require that the rights retention statement is included in the submitted manuscrtip, providing that the publisher has already been notified of the University policy (though it is still advisable for researchers to include the statement to ensure that co-authors are aware that the open licence has been applied and to notify the ‘long tail’ of publishers that publish smaller numbers of papers by Cambridge authors and are harder to identify).
  • It preserves researcher autonomy to opt out of the policy entirely, or for individual papers, or to assign a different licence to their work.

Do I have a choice of licence?

Yes, while the default policy refers to CC BY, it also includes provision for the researcher to select an alternative licence instead. You should feel free to choose the licence that best suits your requirements, provided that is in line with REF and funder requirements.

How does this policy affect co-authorship with researchers at other institutions?

All authors will need to agree to the licence you select for each paper published. The route to open access should be agreed between co-authors prior to submission and, where required, the rights retention wording included in the submitted manuscript.

What if a publisher refuses to publish my manuscript?

While a publisher is under no obligation to consider a manuscript that is subject to rights retention, they should decline to publish such articles at the earliest possible opportunity and allow you to submit to another journal. This is why it is prudent to include the rights retention declaration in the manuscript from the point of submission. We know of only two publishers so far refusing to publish articles where authors are using rights retention and we expect this position will be unsustainable as more institutions implement rights retention policies.

What if a publisher of a subscription (hybrid) journal asks for an article-processing charge before publication?

You should select the subscription publication route at the point of submission, not the open access route which may incur a fee. The prior agreement with the university will take precedence over anything the publisher asks you to sign. Please note that, in certain disciplines, publishers still levy page charges, colour fees and other associated fees for publication. These are separate to open access fees and publishers may require payment before publication. Please email the Open Access team if you'd like guidance on a specific example.

What if a publisher of an open access journal asks for an article-processing charge?

The library has funds to cover article-processing charge payment for open access journals subject to eligibility criteria. See more on this webpage.

What if a publisher requires me to sign a copyright transfer agreement that conflicts with the pre-existing agreement with the University?

This policy supersedes any downstream licence that a publisher may try to impose. Researchers will be fully supported by the University to achieve open access under the terms of this policy.

What if a publisher requests that the article is removed from the repository after publication?

Decisions to remove articles from Apollo will adhere to the Notice and Takedown policy

What should I do if my article includes third party copyright?

For articles with third-party copyright material, please clearly indicate within the manuscript the terms under which the material is released and state that the CC BY licence is not applicable to this material.