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Science & Technology

August 14, 2006
Volume 84, Number 33
p. 51


How Publishers Affect Repositories

Sophie L. Rovner

As in the music business, control over the usage of digital material is one of the thorniest matters affecting scholarly repositories today. The issue arises because publishers' copyright policies determine whether and how authors are able to deposit articles in repositories.

Some scientists, librarians, and institutions are urging authors to retain rights to their articles so that the authors will be free to place the articles in repositories and reuse them in other ways. Early this year, for instance, Massachusetts Institute of Technology sent its faculty a document ( that they could submit to publishers to attempt to modify copyright transfer agreements by retaining such rights.

In fact, almost 80% of publishers already allow authors to self-archive their papers, according to the website, which tracks such policies. Nature authors, for instance, retain copyright and can post their versions of peer-reviewed manuscripts (called postprints) on personal websites and in repositories six months after publication. Science authors also retain copyright and can put a postprint on their websites as soon as the article is published. Science also provides authors a link for their websites that allows readers to view the published version of the article free on the journal's website.

The American Physical Society requires authors to transfer copyright to the society but allows them to place the published articles on personal websites or in their institutional repository. An author who obtains permission from the society can also put the final published version in other free repositories.

Authors of papers published in Angewandte Chemie transfer copyright to Wiley-VCH. The publisher does not permit authors to deposit papers in repositories or post them on websites.

Authors of papers in American Chemical Society journals transfer copyright to the society. ACS authors cannot put the papers themselves on their websites or in repositories. But they can post links to connect a reader to their published articles on the ACS journals website. Via those links, authors can disseminate 50 free digital copies of the published version of a paper during the first year after publication and an unlimited number of digital copies after that time.

ACS, which publishes C&EN, is developing policies to assist authors whose research is funded by the National Institutes of Health. NIH encourages these authors to deposit their peer-reviewed manuscripts in the agency's digital archive, PubMed Central, for public access within a year of their publication.

Congress is contemplating whether to mandate this deposit, shrink the delay, and extend the policy to authors funded by other public institutions (C&EN, June 5, page 3). Research funding institutions outside the U.S. are adopting such mandates (C&EN, July 3, page 8; Dec. 5, 2005, page 11).

ACS and many other publishers fear that these directives will "threaten their ability to sustain the costs of peer-reviewed scholarly publishing, particularly if enacted as unfunded mandates and with open access stipulated very soon after publication," says Brian D. Crawford, senior vice president responsible for ACS's journal publishing program.


Online Archives On A Bumpy Road

Digital repositories have garnered mixed reviews—everything from enthusiasm to apathy

Chemical & Engineering News
ISSN 0009-2347
Copyright © 2010 American Chemical Society


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