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Greater openness for Nottingham research: changes to repository licences

April 22nd, 2022

Find out about the upcoming licensing changes to publications in university repositories beginning in May 2022

Over the last twenty years, the university has become a significant publisher of the outputs of research.

As of 22 September 2021, the scale of open research across University of Nottingham repositories included:

  • 30,945 articles/conference papers
  • 2,088 books/book chapters
  • 2,375 data deposits
  • 5,027 e-theses

Current licensing arrangements

Our repositories (previously ePrints and now RIS) have always offered various licensing options for authors to choose from when depositing their research outputs. However, during this process authors have often declined to select a particular licence and as a result, many outputs are under very restrictive licensing terms.

This especially hinders commercial organisations that may be our knowledge exchange partners. Some outputs are only available on a basis of “all rights reserved”, in line with UK copyright law. This severely limits scope to copy and adapt previous work as new findings emerge, even in non-commercial research settings.

Funding bodies and licensing

Many funding bodies believe that permissive licensing of outputs underpinned by grants will maximise the reach and impact of research. Consequently, this has become a key condition of much grant funding.

UKRI, the Wellcome Trust and NIHR all require journal articles to be published with a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) licence. The CC BY licence allows works to be shared and adapted with appropriate attribution.

Upcoming changes to licensing for university research publications

In response to these trends, and to align with the university’s core strategic value of openness and “championing the free exchange of ideas”, University of Nottingham Libraries will be taking the following steps to enhance the reuse potential of the publications in our repositories.

  1. All outputs which were migrated to RIS by 2018 and are associated with the ePrints generic licence will transition to CC BY licence terms
  2. All outputs deposited in RIS since summer 2018 with no licence specified will transition to CC BY licence terms, subject to consultation with their University of Nottingham authors
  3. Where in future a University of Nottingham author does not choose to associate a licence with a new output at the point of deposit in RIS, CC BY licence terms will be applied by default.

Libraries will begin making these changes and contacting authors from May 2022.

If you have any questions about these changes or what it means for your research outputs, please contact the Libraries team at

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