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Rights Retention Strategies– enabling simpler options for Open Access

27 October 2023

by Sian Carr, Research Support Librarian

Accepted Manuscript. Post-print. Green Open Access. Article Processing Fees. Gold Open Access. Transformative Agreements. Self-Archiving. Funder Requirements. Embargoes. Plan S.

Open Access has nuances. The options available for publishing a manuscript with Open Access depend on publishers, funders, content, budget, funding, affiliations and more. There are always efforts made to clarify the best routes and simplify processes but in an ever-changing environment confusion or frustration is all too real.

Rights Retention Strategies are being developed and implemented at universities around the world, supported by national and international organisations as a tool to provide a simple option for open access based on the fundamental fact that authors own the copyright to their work and do not have to give it away.

Rather than following the standard publishers hope to enforce – that of signing an exclusive copyright transfer agreement as a requirement for publication – Rights Retention empowers authors to retain the rights to their intellectual property and distribute their peer-reviewed, author accepted manuscript. By maintaining these rights, the manuscript can be made available to the public with no embargo period with a Creative Commons license via an institutional repository. Authors rights are protected by adding a rights retention statement to their work before submission and through groundwork laid by their university.

Cardiff University will be conducting a Rights Retention pilot in 2023 and 2024 following the work of other UK universities who have such as the University of Edinburgh, University of Oxford, King’s College London, University of Cambridge and more. The Rights Retention Pilot team will be collaborating with stakeholders across the university and seeking volunteers among publishing staff to join the movement and protect their rights.

Further information about Rights Retention can be found through the cOAlition S/Plan S webpages ( If you have questions about Rights Retention at Cardiff University or would be interesting in participating in the pilot, please contact Sian Carr at