Policy update: The Scholarly Communications Licence

Policy update: The Scholarly Communications Licence

What businesses does this affect?
The licence would affect all academic journal publishers.

What is it?
The Scholarly Communications Licence (SCL) has been developed by a group of academic librarians.  It would require all university staff to grant a non-exclusive licence for their published outputs to their university and enable the university to make it publically available in their institutional depositary under a CC-BY-NC licence. Under the terms of the licence researchers would provide their university with an electronic copy of the accepted manuscript no later than 90 days after acceptance for publication for deposit. Researchers can apply for a waiver from the terms of the licence which will be considered by the institution, which would allow for a delay in the public release of the manuscript for up to two years.

Why is it happening?
The university librarians who have produced the licence say that it will help universities comply with research funder’s open access requirements, as well as considering the HEFCE REF policy which encourages institutions to go beyond minimal compliance requirements of the policy in order to earn extra credit.

What timelines should I be aware of?
The SCL working group is keen for this licence to be available for institutions to adopt from the new academic year in September / October.

How might it affect your business?
The licence will impose a very significant administrative burden on researchers, their institutions and publishers. Publishers would have no choice but to require authors to obtain waivers from the licence, which the PA estimates would mean that waivers would be required for up to 90,000 journal articles per year. The insistence on an immediate non-commercial re-use rights could also have a significant impact on publishers’ ability to recoup their investment.

Where do I go for more information?
Contact the Publishers Association for more information or view explanatory documents here.  The PA is engaged in top-level discussions with stakeholders in the research community to encourage a delay in adoption of the licence and support for it until all implications are fully considered. 

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