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New Report: Publishers allow more than authors think Publishing Research Consortium 16 Mar 2009 09:22 UTC

Publishers' agreements are more liberal than journal authors think, but do
not allow self-archiving of the published PDF

The Publishing Research Consortium has published another in its series of
reports:  Journal Authors' Rights:  perception and reality (Summary Paper

Using re-analysis of the recently published ALPSP report Scholarly
Publishing Practice 3 (which looks at the practice of 181 publishers,
representing 75% of all articles), and a new survey of 1163 authors, the
report compares what publishers actually allow authors to do with the
different versions of their manuscript, and what they want to do and believe
they are permitted to do.

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.

Why do authors have such a poor understanding of publishers' agreements?
The PRC concludes that publishers need to do much more to make sure that
their terms are crystal clear, but also suggests that the ambiguous term
'preprint' may mislead authors, and should be dropped in favour of the
recommended NISO terminology.

*        Full report:  Sally Morris, Journal Authors' Rights:  perception
and reality (PRC Summary Paper 5), PRC 2009 (PDF)

*        Summary of findings:  Journal Authors' Rights:  perception and
reality - a preliminary report, PRC 2009 (PPT)

*        Author survey summary:  Author Rights Copyright Project, GfK
Business 2008 (PPT)

*        John & Laura Cox, Publishing Practice 3, ALPSP 2008 (PDF)
id=-1> &did=47&aid=24781&st=&oaid=-1

*        Journal Article Versions (JAV): Recommendations of the NISO/ALPSP
JAV Technical Working Group, NISO l 2008 (PDF)

The Publishing Research Consortium ( <> is a group of associations and
publishers, which supports global research into scholarly communication in
order to enable evidence-based discussion.  Our objective is to support work
that is scientific and pro-scholarship. Overall, we aim to promote an
understanding of the role of publishing and its impact on research and