Page Proofs ≠ Post-Prints; Websites ≠ Repositories
As Alex Golub’s Star Wars themed translation of two of my recent posts demonstrates, I am not the best communicator on scholarly communications issues, but I will keep trying. A note on the form that articles can take when circulated in green OA fashion, as well as the places where such materials can be “put” follows below.
In response to Alex’s post and one of the comments found associated with it, I would like to stress that page proofs are not the same thing as pre-prints or post-prints. At the end of this post I will also stress that websites are not as good as, or the same thing as, librarian- managed repositories.
[Before continuing, will someone, anyone, please, please, please just look at this link: http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeoinfo.html ?]
While some publisher’s author agreements allow (or even encourage) authors who are circulating their articles via the green OA channel to circulate the final typeset versions, this is rare and most DO NOT ALLOW for the circulation of anything other than pre-prints (manuscripts as they were before peer-review) or post-prints (manuscripts as they are after author revision but before any production work is done on them.)
Typesetting, markup, etc. are value added processes and an investment on the part of the publisher. From their point of view, they are no obligated to give this labor to you or to give it away. (Just as you are not obligated to give your work to them in the first place.) No OA mandate that I know about demands the publisher’s version and the circulation of such versions (despite the commonality of the practice) is usually a violation of one’s author agreement and thus, technically, a violation of copyright law. Just because you have not yet gotten a take down notice or a cease and desist letter from your angry publisher or chewed out by your university’s legal office, does not mean that you will never have these things happen to you. When you sign a standard author agreement, you transfer the rights to your article away to your publisher. It is not yours, it is theirs. There are a variety of rights that they can choose to allow you to retain via your agreement, but you have to read your agreement to know what these rights and these limitations are.
The only way around this is through the use of an author addendum such as that provided by the Scholars Copyright Addendum Engine. This is the reason that Kelty et al. were able to legally circulate the published version of their 2008 article. Ex: https://scholarworks.iu.edu/dspace/handle/2022/3167 An author addendum is a legal tool by which you can request and retain additional rights in your work.
In a world in which their are excellent metadata harvesting protocols (OAI-PMH), there is no need for a “Napster” for articles. Tools for discovery like Google Scholar and Open Folklore are all that we need. What is required instead are scholars willing to understand how the these processes work and who are willing to stop posting their articles on their personal and departmental websites and start legally putting them in proper institutional, subject, or funder repositories where they will be discoverable and available for the long haul. (Websites are better than nothing and some scholars may struggle to find a suitable repository to permanently host their work, but this problem diminishes almost daily and there are multiple pathways around it.)
I will be addressing these two themes–what author agreements do/do not allow and the costs of using websites–in my AAA remarks on green OA.