Open Access

Publish with power: rights protected by QUT’s revised open access policy

Stack of white papers on a white background.
Photo by Ron Dyar on Unsplash

QUT’s revised Open Access policy protects your right to make your research publications open access. This is good for you, for science, and for society. QUT has a reputation as a leader in open access – both nationally and internationally. In 2003, QUT endorsed the world’s first institutional open access policy. The policy was recently revised to incorporate some emerging global practices including a rights retention strategy based on the world-leading Plan S model. As a result, QUT’s Open Access policy is now in alignment with the open access policies of many of the major international and national research funders including the NHMRC (National Health and Medical Research Council), who recently joined cOAlition S, the coalition of 30 major funders and research organisations behind Plan S. Other members include Wellcome, World Health Organization (WHO), the European Commission and UK Research and Innovation.

QUT researchers are now required to make their refereed research articles available via QUT ePrints, immediately upon publication, under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY) licence.  Ideally, this should be at the time the article first appears on the publisher website (or as soon as the DOI is available) and at the very least, the open access copy should be made available by the time the version of record is published.  This is a change from the previous version of the policy which allowed for publisher-requested embargo periods of up to 12 months. The COVID-19 pandemic highlighted the impact of open access on the pace of discovery. Deliberately delaying access to research findings is no longer acceptable to many of the institutions and funding bodies that support and fund research.

If your research article is being published in an open access journal or will be made open access by the publisher as a result of one of the ‘Read & Publish’ agreements QUT Library has signed up to, you can comply with the open access policy by simply ensuring that they select the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence when given a choice of licence. The Publisher will make the ‘Version of record’ open access immediately upon publication.

If the published version of the article is not open access, then the researcher should ensure that they retain a copy of the Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) version and provide this for QUT ePrints when prompted. The AAM is the author’s final manuscript which contains all the changes made after peer-review but has not been typeset or copyedited by the journal/publisher.  The AAM will be made available under a Creative Commons licence. This is where the ‘rights retention strategy’ becomes important as the journal’s standard publishing agreement terms may conflict with this requirement.  A publishing agreement should be acceptable to both parties and it is an author’s fundamental right to assert that they wish to retain (or are required to retain) some specified rights.

Protect your rights by adding the following text to the cover page of the submitted manuscript (the version submitted for peer review) or the covering letter that accompanies it:

This research was produced in whole or part by QUT researchers and is subject to the QUT Open access for QUT research outputs (including theses) (F/1.3) and Intellectual property (D/3.1) policies. For the purposes of open access, the author has applied a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence to any Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) version arising from this submission”.

It takes time for large commercial publishers to adapt their processes and documentation to accommodate changes in the policy landscape. However, most publishers are well aware that a significant and growing proportion of the authors they are dealing with are now ‘obligated’ to retain certain rights. These upstream obligations empower authors and help them to ensure that their publications are freely available, accessible and reusable.

How well do you know your rights as an author? Take this short quiz to test your knowledge.

If you have any questions, please reach out to


Guest post from: Stephanie Bradbury,  Manager, Office for Scholarly Communications; Paula Callan, Scholarly Communications Librarian; and Katya Henry, University Copyright Officer. Editor: Sandra Fry, Liaison Librarian.

Comments are closed.