Open Access to peer-reviewed research literature is something most researchers want. Open Access (OA) increases the efficiency of research and stimulates the knowledge economy by granting a wider range of user groups access to scientific literature. End users get access easier, and researchers increase their outreach. With Plan S, Open Access has also become a requirement from several funders of research funders.
UiT The Artic University of Norway has for many years pushed for Open Access of research literature at the national and international level. Our Open Access policy states that all academic publications shall be accessible in Open Access journals or open repositories. However, the requirements for Open Access differ depending on who has funded the research, and different publishers of academic literature operate with different rules and embargoes that create uncertainty among researchers.
“We want all our publications to be open access, not only research that has been funded by cOAlition S funders, but all publications that our researchers produce.” says Camilla Brekke, Pro-Rector Research and Development UiT.
By implementing a new strategy for Open Access, UiT will make it easier than ever for the institution’s employees and students to make their research work openly available, regardless of where it is published. 1. January 2022, UiT implemented an institutional Rights Retention Strategy. We are, to our knowledge, the first university in Scandinavia to implement this kind of strategy. It ensures that researchers at UiT can make a full-text version of their peer-reviewed articles immediately available, by means of self-archiving, regardless of any restrictions from the publisher. The researchers retain the copyright to their work, while UiT assumes legal responsibility for distribution through its institutional archive. The strategy ensures that the legal responsibility is placed on the institution, not the individual researcher.
“Now the researchers at UiT can be sure to keep the copyright of their own work.” says Prof. Brekke. Researchers at UiT do not have to submit a prior notice when submitting a manuscript. They just need to upload the finished peer-reviewed article in our institutional research archive. UiT expect the new strategy to ensure Open Access while still preserving the researcher’s right to publish in their preferred channels. UiT has looked to other institutions with successful institutional Rights Retention Strategies, such as Harvard University. We wish for a similar success with our strategy, and we hope other institutions will follow.