UK Scholarly Communications Licence?

Technology and business innovations are creating new opportunities in scholarly communication which aim to transform scholarly publishing models. These developments have potential to help us deliver key strands within the University of Kent research strategy through heightened visibility, global connectivity and maximised impact of our research outputs.

One such development is the proposal for a UK Scholarly Communications Licence (UK-SCL), which allows institutions to simplify researchers’ lives by adopting a single institutional approach to communicating certain scholarly outputs whilst preserving academics’ right to publish in the platform of their choosing. Under the UK-SCL the author accepted manuscripts of all ‘scholarly articles’ created by researchers at adopting institutions will, by default, be automatically licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial (CC-BY-NC) licence from the date of publication, or 12 months from acceptance by publisher. This means that full text articles can be added to institutional repositories without risk of copyright infringement. Waivers are possible in unique cases but are not expected to be necessary in most cases.

The first adopters of the UK-SCL, which include a number of Russell Group institutions, are currently working on implementation plans. The implications of these institutions adopting the UK-SCL is generating an important national debate across a variety of stakeholder groups. These include the UK-SCL Steering Group, the UUK Open Access Coordination Group, the Publishers Association, individual publishers, and a number of learned and professional societies. The range of views expressed amplify the complexity and challenge of transitioning towards open access publishing.

The position at Kent

The Kent Research Innovation Board considered whether to adopt the UK-SCL in September 2016 and whilst supportive of the principles underlying the policy, the Board decided not to implement at that time. The Board agreed that the policy should be revisited in twelve months, by which time it would assess its effect on those who had adopted it. This is the current position of the University of Kent.

The University is therefore keeping a watching brief as well as actively contributing to many ongoing open access initiatives, including contributing copyright expertise to support development of a sustainable UK-SCL.

If you have any thoughts or questions regarding Kent’s position in relation to the UK-SCL, please get in touch.

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