Friday, March 20, 2009

Poor understanding of publishers' agreements

16 March 2009

The Publishing Research Consortium has published another in its series of reports, Journal authors' rights: perception and reality. (18 pages)

For both the submitted and the accepted version of their manuscript, the majority of publishers' agreements (as calculated by the number of articles they publish) allow authors to provide copies to colleagues, to incorporate into their own works, to post to a personal or departmental website or to an institutional repository, and to use in course packs; just under 50% also permit posting to a subject repository. However, far fewer authors think they can do any of these than are in fact allowed to do so.
The published PDF version is the version that authors would prefer to use for all the above purposes; again, publishers' agreements exceed authors' expectations for providing copies to colleagues, incorporating in subsequent work, and use in course packs. However, the picture is turned on its head when it comes to self-archiving; more than half of authors think that publishers allow them to deposit the final PDF, whereas under 10% of publishers actually permit this - probably because of serious concerns about the long-term impact on subscriptions.

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