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Am I always free to choose the licence? May a licence be predefined?

The licences to be selected for publications may be mandated as part of research funding. This is common for funding open access publications from publication funds and for funding from research funding institutions (as in the case of the EU's Horizon Europe research framework programme).

Licences may also be predefined for individual publication outlets or by publishers. For example, many journals have a standard licence for the open access publication of an article, which authors may not change and thus only agree to a certain license if their article is accepted and published. Sometimes it is possible to change the licence in individual cases under an opt-out principle. However, publishing open access without a licence is generally not possible. In the case of books that are to be published by a publisher, there are usually no fixed specifications, but there is often a preselection or recommendation of a licence on the part of the publisher. It is important to be aware that publishers may prefer restrictive licences out of commercial self-interest and often offer no or only inadequate consultation on licences.