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Copyright and licenses


The term copyright refers to the exclusive legal rights that the creator of a work is granted for a fixed number of years that regulates the use of his or her work. Copyright applies to a wide variety of works, such as text, sound, images, movies, databases, computer programmes, and more. In the UK, literature, artistic works and sound recordings are copyrighted for 70 years after the death of the creator. For more information regarding copyright, please see the Library’s main copyright page. 


Creative Commons

Creative Commons allows creators to license their work with the help of a variety of licenses, which are called Creative Commons Licenses. There are four types of licenses:  BY (attribution), ND (non-derivatives), NC (non-commercial), SA (share alike). Creators can use the CC-BY license either alone in combination with one or more of the other licenses and, thus, preserve the rights they would like to keep for themselves and the rights they prefer to waive to the public. For more information visit the Creative Commons Choose License page.

The RCUK Open Access Policy requires a Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) License for the journal articles published under gold OA. According to the wording of the "RCUK Open Access Policy", “[w]here the RCUK OA block grant is used to pay Article Processing Charges for a paper, the paper must be made Open Access immediately at the time of online publication, using the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence.” (section 3.5, i). For more information, Please see the OA and RCUK page.


Journal agreements 

Journals publishers follow a variety of different licensing agreements. The majority use “All Rights Reserved” or “Some Rights Reserved” licenses and a few use Creative Commons Licenses. The SHERPA/RoMEO tool provides details of 1000 publisher OA and copyright policies.



Please email openaccess@royalholloway.ac.uk for questions on copyright and Open Acces

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