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Open Access: Licensing


Key to open access is stating clearly how the open content is licensed.  This clarifies what can be done with the content  and is vital in protecting the content against mis-use. 
Licensing vs. copyright:
  • Licensing is the way you let others know what they can do with your content in terms of re-use and derivatives, particularly in a commercial sense
  • Copyright lets you know what you can do with your content, is your right as the owner of intellectual property to benefit from your content and, in the UK at least, allows limited non-commercial re-use of your content
International approach to licensing is required:
  • Research is global
  • Copyright law differs in different parts of the world
  • Creative Commons is widely used for this - see choose a licence option below for different types of CC licences

Funder Licensing Requirements

REF2021 Requirements

It is advised that the Creative Commons Attribution, Non-commercial, No derivatives (CC-BY-NC-ND) license would meet this requirement.

UKRI Requirements

  • Gold Open Access – articles must be licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution license (CC-BY)
  • Green Open Access – articles should be licensed to facilitate non-commercial re-use.  The Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial license (CC-BY-NC) meets this requirement, though other licenses that facilitate the same goal can also be used.

EU Requirements

Policy supports mixed green and gold open access publications, and appropriate creative commons licenses.


The University of Hull will apply appropriate licences to materials held within Worktribe in accordance with funder requirements.

CC License

DCC guidance on licensing

OASPA best practice on licensing

The Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association offers best practice guidelines on licensing and attribution in open access.

Choose a License