Research Publications and Copyright Policy: An update on progress 9 months in

Since beginning implementation of Newcastle University’s Research Publications and Copyright Policy in January 2023, the open research landscape has continued to transform. Library Research Services have been integrating our RPCP policy into open research publishing practices across the university. We have been doing this by supporting researchers and professional services staff while monitoring the uptake using our research support systems. Before we dive into the progress made over the past 9 months, we would first like to extend a thank you to our staff and students for recognising the benefits of the new policy and embracing change, and retaining their rights to publish their work where they see fit.

We have made 1,533* articles open access via the gold (paid) route and 388* available using the green (free) route. 238* of the publications made available through green open access were because of our policy with more research articles being accepted for publication containing the statement.

Implementing the policy required extensive planning and coordination. We developed a communications plan outlining the various media and methods we could use including channels, time frames and promotional material to convey the policy clearly and effectively. We added a web page within Library Research Services detailing the policy, a step-by-step guide for researchers and professional services staff and a list of FAQs to pre-empt and answer any questions or concerns they may have.

We are grateful to be part of the N8 Research Partnership which has allowed us to work together while launching similar policies around rights retention. The partnership enabled us to anticipate and tackle the issues we faced as a collective while allowing us to benchmark our progress with other research-intensive universities across the North of England. We liaised with our colleagues in Research, Strategy and Development to discuss how our policy aligned with our Ownership, Protection and Exploitation of Intellectual Property for Employees and the Open Access Policy Statement.

The first practical steps we took towards implementation was to contact over 150 publishers informing them of our policy. The publishers were based on a list from Edinburgh University and adapted to include those our researchers publish with. Once we were in possession of our letter, written and signed by Legal Services and N8 Rights Retention statement, we began contacting publishers as a courtesy.

The next stage involved informing our authors, we contacted each school asking to come along and present the policy to interested parties and we received a very welcoming response. The information was then fed through to various teams within the university by Professional Services staff. By speaking to staff directly, we were able to field questions and concerns to make incorporating the new policy as seamless as possible in the attempt to minimise the impact this would have on our academic’s workload. We set up Open Access Zoom Drop-In sessions to give the opportunity for researchers and members of staff to ask questions surrounding the policy, ask general open access queries and offer advice on good research practice.

As we develop and support open research while continuing to advocate for our research publications policy, the N8 have proposed a webinar for 23rd October 2023 at 10.15am (BST) to give the opportunity for those universities who launched their policies to present on their experience, the barriers they faced and offering advice to other institutions wishing to embark on their own rights retention journey. Details of how to sign up are posted in our Library Calendar.

*Figures taken from CRIS (MyImpact) (Jan 2023-Sep 2023)

UKRI Open Access Policy – May 2023 update

UKRI have updated their 2022 open access policy with guidance on open access requirements for long-form publications. The requirements apply to monographs, book chapters or edited collections published on or after 1 January 2024, that acknowledge funding from UKRI.

A summary of the requirements are:

  • The final Version of Record or Author’s Accepted Manuscript must be free to view and download via an online publication platform, publisher’s website, or institutional or subject repository within a maximum of 12 months of publication. 
  • Images, illustrations, tables and other supporting content should be included in the open access version, where possible 
  • The open access version of the publication must have a Creative Commons licence, with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence preferred. An Open Government Licence is also permitted. (This requirement does not apply to third party materials included in the publication). 

UKRI expect publications acknowledging their funding are made open access. However they are allowing exceptions in the following circumstances:

  • A contract was signed with a publisher before 1 January 2024, which doesn’t enable open access in compliance with UKRI’s policy 
  • The only appropriate publisher is unable to offer an open access option that complies with UKRI’s policy 
  • The monograph, book chapter or edited collection is the outcome of a UKRI training grant (open access is encouraged but not required) 
  • Reuse permissions for third-party materials cannot be obtained and there is no suitable alternative to enable open access publication (practical guidance will be issued in August 2023)  

UKRI will be making funds available to support the costs associated with open access publishing if the Green, free, route to open access is not an eligible option for authors. Further guidance will be issued in autumn 2023 and the Open Access web pages will be updated. If you have any questions about how the policy could apply to you contact

Feedback on an Open Research Comic

Kelsey Bezaire (PGR in Animal Sciences) is developing an Open Research comic with support from the University’s Enhancing Research Culture Project Fund.

Kelsey has drafted the first page of the comic below and would love some feedback. Specifically, what topics would you like to see covered and how is the readability? Any other feedback is welcome too, so please post your thoughts in the comments or contact Kelsey directly.

OR Owl Introduction #1 


Panel 1: DAY. Over the shoulder mid shot in the breakroom. Tina waves and called for Illya to join them for lunch, half shot of Illya with hot lunch.  

1. TINA:	Illya! Come join us for lunch. 

Panel 2: Wide bird eye/high angle shot with background details to show it’s a lunch break room and show where Miguel, Tina, Remi and Illya are. Illya is grabbing a seat, Remi is leaning over a chair, and Miguel (far) is sitting on the sofa by Tina (near). Box of free stuff is by Miguel.  

2. MIGUEL: How did the meeting go? 

3. ILLYA:	It went well. We have a draft of the paper but I need to figure out how some of the publishing works. 

4. TINA: Anything we can help with? 

5. Illya: Maybe.  

Panel 3: Eye level profile shot of Illya and Remi. Remi looks keen and Illya is quizzical. 

7. ILLYA:	My supervisor was saying we need to make our paper open access. I know nothing about any of this so I just took a lot of notes so I can look it up this afternoon. 

Panel 4: Same as panel 3 but Remi is gesturing towards Illya and Illya looks uncertain. 

9. REMI:	I know someone experienced with open access publication. I can see if she’s free and she can explain it. 

10. ILLYA:	Oh! That would be great. Thanks. 

11. REMI CAPTION:	I’ll be right back! 

Panel 6: Wide over the shoulder from between Miguel and Tina. Showing Illya (with nearly finished lunch) and Remi with something perched on his arm silhouetted by the doorway. Chris (new character) is standing. 

9. CAPTION:	Later… 

11. REMI:	Hello! 

Panel 7: Cut out eye level portrait of Ada with left wing partially extended as if in wave. 

9. ADA: Hi everyone, I’m Ada, the Open Research Owl. What would you like to know?

Find out more about how we are supporting open research and open access.

N8 Research Partnership and Rights Retention

The N8 Research Partnership has released an important statement which outlines its stance on the importance of researchers being able to retain their original rights when their work is published in a journal. Newcastle University is an N8 member and has been involved with the planning and coordination of this initiative which seeks to support all N8 academics if they find themselves caught between funder and publisher policies.

Newcastle University introduced a new Research Publications and Copyright policy in August 2022 and in tandem with the other N8 universities the policy is designed to ensure that Newcastle authors are in a position to follow good open research practice and comply with changing funder requirements around open access to research outputs. It does this by recommending that authors make their work open access via use of a Rights Retention Statement (RRS) and self-archiving into the institutional repository. More detailed guidance on complying with the new policy can be accessed on the Library Research Services web pages.

As part of this initiative, the University’s Legal Services department has sent a Notice of Grant of Licence by post and email to over 150 publishers to which the majority of University staff submit their work. This letter serves as formal notice to publishers of the new policy and is designed to ensure that Newcastle academic staff are fully supported with regard to retaining the rights to their work. Over the coming weeks and months the Library will be delivering a programme of resources and training events to support colleagues in transitioning to the new policy. If you have any questions or concerns then please consult the FAQs or contact the open access team.