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Open Access: Copyright & OA

The Goldsmiths Library's introduction and overview of Open Access

Copyright and Open Access

Copyright rules apply to most research and creative outputs, whether they are in text or audio-visual form. These can be made Open Access in line with the publisher’s or copyright holder’s policies.

Academic journals’ copyright policies usually restrict access to the published PDF (the Version of Record) to limit it to subscribers only.   

Versions and Copyright

Article versions diagram courtesy of:, CC-BY

Most of the time your accepted manuscript may be made available to anyone with an internet connection, by depositing a copy to GRO or similar not-for-profit repositories, where it can be made available after an embargo period. This version is the peer reviewed paper after the final changes have been made in response to the peer review and before the publisher has copy-edited it and added their formatting and design. It goes by several different names: accepted manuscript, author’s accepted manuscript, AAM, and post-print.

Most book publishers will have Open Access policies of their own, some allowing the distribution of final published version of part of a book after an embargo period, and some allowing the deposit of manuscript only. If you have any questions around a specific book publisher’s copyright policies, please email

If your work was published with a Creative Commons license or other Open Access license, the published version can be made available according to the terms of the license.

The GRO team will check copyright rules that may apply to your work before making it public via our research repository.



Creative Commons licenses

Creative Commons (CC) is a licensing system that allows you to make your work open and accessible by choosing one of the six Creative Commons licenses. Creative Commons licenses are used by attaching them to individual works, unless this is restricted by a publication agreement. When a work is published with a Creative Commons license, it may not be revoked, and grants the permissions component of Open Access in perpetuity.  

The key Creative Commons licences are:

Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY): This license allows anyone to read, download, distribute, adapt, change, translate your work as long as you are credited and any changes are indicated. It also allows the work to be used commercially.   A CC BY license is required for Open Access publication funding from the UKRI and other grant funders.  

Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial license (CC BY-NC): This license allows anyone to read, download, distribute and adapt parts of your work as long as you are credited, any changes are indicated and it is limited to non-commercial use only.  This is the license used by default in Goldsmiths Research Online.

Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial No Derivatives license (CC BY-NC-ND): This is the most restrictive Creative Commons license. It allows anyone to read, download and distribute your work as long as you are credited, the work is not adapted or changed and is limited to non-commercial use only.  

You can find more information about Creative Commons at:

Other licenses and conditions may be appropriate in some circumstances.  For example, if your work is under Crown Copyright, the Open Government License is compatible with the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY).


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