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What is a Creative Commons Attribution license?

UKRI require Open Access articles to be published under the Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY). The full CC-BY license, as used by many OA and hybrid journals, allows maximum re-use rights to a published paper and removes any ambiguity regarding re-use rights. The license also protects the moral rights of the author(s). This license permits others to distribute, remix, alter and build upon a paper as long as the original authors are credited. The copyright in any third-party materials in such papers must also be respected. All these actions may be taken without approaching the authors or journal publisher for permission even if it is for commercial purposes.

While the publication of papers under the CC-BY license opens up new possibilities for disseminating and using research results it has also raised some concerns. These include the possible loss of revenue to publishers through sales of reprints; risk of misattribution, misquoting, misrepresentation, plagiarism and so forth which may be damaging to authors; and the risk of third-parties denying the right to include their material in papers to be released under a CC-BY license. However, journals publishing papers under this license have not reported any particular problems in these areas.

When publishing via the Green route the license agreements with publishers should ideally be full CC-BY licenses. This is a recommendation rather than a requirement and the more restrictive Creative Commons Attribution NonCommercial license (CC-BY-NC) allowing non-commercial reuse of the material may also be acceptable. NB! individual publishers may also have a license available that meets with the OA requirements outlined by UKRI.