Manuscript self-archiving #1: many questions!

Hello all!

If you have read the Preprint , you know that I am trying to act and become 100% open access with my manuscripts. I made a list of the publications with links to the PDFs available online without a paywall (if the paper is open access or available in other websites) but there are still a few publications that require a subscription to the journal.

I thought it would be interesting to write about my “becoming open access” process as it seems that it will be tricky (but I am sure feasible) for a few reasons:

1-  Which version of the manuscript is acceptable to make a preprint of when the manuscript has already been published?

  • Should I use the first submission version (but sometimes major changes have been done before the second submission)?
  • Can I make a preprint of the resubmission (without the publisher’s proofreading)?
  • Or can I make a preprint of the last version of the manuscript before they prepared the layout?

2- Are there any publishers that do not allow at all to have a preprint version of my work after I published it?

For instance, what does that mean??

Screen Shot 2018-01-19 at 14.41.19.png

Please don’t judge me for signing things I don’t understand, I was a naive Ph.D. student that wanted to have a publication (Okay you can judge me….)

HELP!

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One thought on “Manuscript self-archiving #1: many questions!

  1. SHERPA/RoMEO does a good job to standardize the terminology (what is meant by preprint and postprint, for instance) and avoid having to look for the information on the publishers website, which is often a chore.

    However, this service was launched at a time where things were much simpler: publishers allowed or not self-archiving of this and that version. So SHERPA/RoMEO accordingly attributed the following colors to journals/publishers:

    – blue: pre- and postprint (or publisher PDF) both allowed
    – green: postprint (or publisher PDF) only
    – yellow: preprint only
    – white: archiving not formally supported

    However, as time went by, publishers started complexifying their policies, so much that nowadays the color gives only a crude, partial information on what you’re allowed to self-archive, or when and where you may do it.

    Thus, you must pay attention to the Restrictions and General Conditions sections in the same page. After using extensively SHERPA/RoMEO, I came to the following conclusions.

    – All OA journals (obviously) and some toll-access journals allow archiving the publisher PDF on institutional repositories. There a list of these journals on SHERPA/RoMEO website (http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/PDFandIR.html).

    – Many publishers are Green because they allow immediate archiving on personal websites, but require an embargo for depositing elsewhere, for instance on an institutional repository (ex.: Elsevier).

    – Some publishers restrict archiving to non-commercial repositories (thus no deposit on the likes of ResearchGate; ex.: Wiley).

    – This is not explained clearly in the SHERPA/RoMEO website, but by “archiving” they mean “immediate archiving”, without embargo. Thus, many White publishers (I estimate around 50% of them) allow in fact archiving after an embargo of 6 months to a few years (ex. American Chemical Society).

    Now, as to your specific questions:

    1a. Should I use the first submission version (but sometimes major changes have been done before the second submission)?

    This is called a preprint, and is more widely allowed than later versions. Obviously, one normally prefers to use a version as close as possible to the final, published one, but a number of journals allow only preprints. There is an advantage though of depositing the preprint, because it can make your work known much earlier, considering it may take many months (if not years) to have a submitted article accepted. But for an article already published, this is less relevant.

    1b and c. Can I make a preprint of the resubmission (without the publisher’s proofreading)? Or can I make a preprint of the last version of the manuscript before they prepared the layout?

    This is called a postprint, which most journals allow (albeit sometimes after an embargo). Normally, the postprint includes the result of proofreading (although, depending of the technology used by the journal, you could have to make yourself the corrections in your manuscript), but excludes the publisher layout, so that the scientific content is identical to that of the published version.

    2. Are there any publishers that do not allow at all to have a preprint version of my work after I published it? For instance, what does that mean? [screenshot of copyright transfer agreement].

    First, you’re better with SHERPA/RoMEO than with the copyright agreement, where the answers you’re looking for are often buried within abstruse clauses written by and for lawyers.

    The answer is yes, for a small minority of journals, for instance Zootaxa, where you published http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/search.php?issn=1175-5326.

    However, there are two things you can do when SHERPA/RoMEO reveals that the journal doesn’t allow any form of archiving, or doesn’t have information about the journal:

    – Ask permission, stating the reasons why you want to make your postprint available, and indicating that you will refer, and provide a link to the article on the publisher website.

    – Deposit anyway your postprint, although it doesn’t conform to the copyright agreement you signed. You may envision that as a kind of civil disobedience, with the common good in view (you don’t do it for your own financial advantage). That doesn’t make it legal, but moral imperatives are at issue here: is it fair that researchers have to relinquish all their rights to their works, for the next century (the probable length of copyright protection), to see them remaining unavailable to a sizable part of their potential readership?

    I hope this helps.

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