08 January 2015

605. Posting your own academic articles on your website (self-archiving)

I've been meaning to put copies of my own articles on my departmental website, but haven't had time to look into the legal aspects until now.

The publishers that matter to me in order are Wiley, ACS, RSC, Elsevier, and Taylor and Francis.

Here are their policies:

Wiley (also see this)
Under Wiley copyright, authors are permitted to self-archive the peer-reviewed (but not final) version of a contribution on the contributor's personal website, [..], subject to an embargo period of 12 months for scientific, technical, and medical (STM) journals [..] following publication of the final contribution. Authors should be aware that Wiley’s society partners set policies independently, and authors should refer to individual journal pages as the authority on copyright policy.
Summary: you can post the article version containing improvements following peer-review twelve months after it was published online (my interpretation), but you can't post the galley proof, on your own website.

Accepted Author Manuscript (AAM) Definition: An accepted author manuscript (AAM) is the author’s version of the manuscript of an article that has been accepted for publication and which may include any author-incorporated change s suggested through the processes of submission processing, peer review, and editor-author communications. AAMs do not include other publisher value-added contributions such as copy-editing, formatting, technical enhancements and (if relevant) pagination. Elsevier's AAM Policy: Authors retain the right to use the accepted author manuscript for personal use, internal institutional use and for permitted scholarly posting provided that these are not for purposes of commercial use or systematic distribution. [..] Permitted scholarly posting: Voluntary posting by an author on open websites operated by the author or the author’s institution for scholarly purposes, as determined by the author, or (in connection with preprints) on preprint servers.
Summary: you can post the article version containing improvements following peer-review on your own website as long as it's not for commercial purposes.

Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC)
When the author accepts the exclusive Licence to Publish for a journal article, he/she retains certain rights concerning the deposition of the whole article. He/she may: [..] Make available the PDF of the final published article via the personal website(s) of the author(s) or via the Intranet(s) of the organisation(s) where the author(s) work(s). No embargo period applies. [..] Deposition of the article on any website acting as a collection of personal articles from multiple scientists is explicitly prohibited.
Surprisingly, it sounds like it's actually OK to upload the version which is found on the RSC website -- which sounds too good to be true. Be your own judge.

American Chemical Society (ACS) (but also this)
Note that ACS does not grant permission for these materials or provide the following:
However, on page 6 here:
6. Posting Submitted Works on Websites and Repositories: A digital file of the Submitted Work may be made publicly available on websites or repositories (e.g. the Author’s personal website, preprint servers, university networks or primary employer’s institutional websites, third party institutional or subject-based repositories, and conference websites that feature presentations by the Author(s) based on the Submitted Work) under the following conditions: * The Author(s) have received written confirmation (via letter or email) from the appropriate ACS journal editor that the posting does not conflict with journal prior publication/embargo policies (see http://pubs.acs.org/page/policy/prior/index.html ) * The posting must be for non-commercial purposes and not violate the ACS' "Ethical Guidelines to Publication of Chemical Research" (see http://pubs.acs.org/ethics ). * If the Submitted Work is accepted for publication in an ACS journal, then the following notice should be included at the time of posting, or the posting amended as appropriate: "This document is the unedited Author’s version of a Submitted Work that was subsequently accepted for publication in [JournalTitle], copyright © American Chemical Society after peer review. To access the final edited and published work see [insert ACS Articles on Request author-directed link to Published Work, see http://pubs.acs.org/page/policy/articlesonrequest/index.html ]."
My reading is that it's only ok to post a pre-review version, and only if the above note is included, and only if you have received explicit permission from the editor of the journal. The ACS, which should represent us chemists, have by far the most draconian rules.

[Note that section 7 (which I haven't reproduced) covers 'accepted and published works', which is only permitted in case posting is mandated and only under certain conditions.]

See also item 19 here: http://pubs.acs.org/page/copyright/journals/faqs.html#
 It says pretty much the same thing. Note also that they tell you that you're allowed to link to the journal website, and that you're allowed to use the DOI.

How very generous.

Taylor and Francis
Author’s Original Manuscript (AOM) This is your original manuscript (often called a "preprint"), and you can share this as much or as little as you like. If you do decide to post it anywhere, including onto an academic networking site, we would recommend you use an amended version of the wording below to encourage usage and citation of your final, published article. Accepted Manuscript (AM) As a Taylor & Francis author, you can post your Accepted Manuscript (AM) on your departmental or personal website at any point after publication of your article (this includes posting to Facebook, Google groups, and LinkedIn, and linking from Twitter). Version of Record (VoR) This is your published article. We recommend that you include a link to the VoR from anywhere you have posted your AOM or AM using the text above. Please do not post the PDF of the VoR unless you have chosen to publish your article open access. This also applies to any author who has published with us in the past.
Summary: you can post the accepted manuscript, but not the journal version.


  1. Why do you care? I post all my papers on my website and academia.edu. If they come after me, fine, I'll remove them. But I want my research to be available to everyone, and find the current academic publishing model immoral.
    However, I can't change the system myself. The best I can do is to subvert it a little.

    1. I care because I do sign those copyright transfer agreements. I do think that the publishing houses are allowed to make money given that the publication process is free to the authors, although I do object to the obscene suscription costs and their destructive lobbying (e.g. the Research Works Act).
      A much better solution would be to only publish in open access journals, but there are currently no OA chemistry journals that are of sufficient quality and affordable, and the penalty for publishing in low impact journals for an early/mid-career researcher is too high.
      While I can sympathise with your sentiment, I don't fully agree with it. I just wish there was a viable, legal solution.
      Finally, I'm not sure I'm a friend of sites such as academia.edu and ResearchGate etc. as they, in my opinion, contribute even less to the publishing process than the traditional publishing houses, yet exploit it for their own gain.