Library teams from across the GW4 Alliance, a consortium of four of the most research-intensive and innovative universities in the UK: Bath, Bristol, Cardiff and Exeter, have joined together to publish a collective Rights Retention Statement, advocating for greater measures to support researchers to retain the rights to their work.
Rights Retention is intended to provide academics with greater control over the rights in their own scholarly works, enabling them to disseminate research and scholarship as widely as possible, supporting compliance with funder mandates, whilst also allowing them to publish their works in a journal of their own choice.
It does this by providing routes to open access publishing which are inclusive and contribute to a positive research culture; strengthening sector positions in negotiations with scholarly publishers; mitigating the risks of non-compliance with the terms of grant agreements; and minimising bureaucracy for authors.
The new statement, spearheaded by Library Directors from across the four universities, has been developed as part of the Alliance’s long-standing commitment to Open Access research, which promotes and supports practices which facilitate the positive social and economic impact of GW4’s research, and creates a more inclusive research culture.
Dr Joanna Jenkinson MBE, GW4 Alliance Director, said: “As members of the UK Reproducibility Network, the GW4 Alliance is dedicated to working together to share resources, guidance and expertise, designed to deliver a strong, robust and open research environment. The introduction of a joint Rights Retention Statement is a tangible articulation of GW4’s commitment to supporting researchers to retain control of their work, enabling them to achieve even greater research impact through collaboration.”
Open access generates a number of positive benefits, including increasing the quality, visibility, and accessibility of research. It allows research and scholarly works to be accessed by as many readers as possible, regardless of economic circumstance, increasing the potential reach and impact as anyone can access and benefit from the work.
James Anthony-Edwards, Chair of the GW4 Library Directors Group and University Librarian at the University of Exeter, said: “Having an open, ethical and supportive research culture and environment is a key part of Exeter’s Strategy 2030. Working with GW4 colleagues on rights retention has moved this on by giving researchers more control and making it easier for them to make their research openly available.”
Kate Robinson, University Librarian at the University of Bath, said: “The longstanding collaboration between the four University Libraries is an asset, both in the development of this rights retention policy and in our shared approach to supporting our research communities. There is much we can do together to promote change through supporting an open research culture.”
Ed Fay, Director of Library Services at the University of Bristol, said: “The University of Bristol is committed to supporting an open, ethical and impactful research environment. We are delighted to have worked with colleagues from across the GW4 Alliance to develop this joint Rights Retention Statement, which allows us to work collaboratively to increase the access to and impact of our world-leading research.”
Tracey Stanley, Director of Library Services at Cardiff University, said: “Cardiff has benefitted hugely from working with GW4 library colleagues to develop a joint position on rights retention, and share resources and expertise. The joint rights retention statement demonstrates the strength of our collective commitment to open research and open access, and emphasises the leverage we have through collective working."
To read the full statement, please visit the GW4 Website.