Re: Evolving APS Copyright Policy (American Physical Society)

From: Stevan Harnad <>
Date: Sat, 6 May 2000 12:33:13 +0100

Thomas J. Walker <tjw_at_GNV.IFAS.UFL.EDU> wrote:

> > The APS does not seem to allow the posting of its PDF files

On Fri, 5 May 2000, Mark Doyle [APS] <> replied:

> (3) The right, after publication by APS, to use all or part of the article
> and abstract, without revision or modification, in personal compilations
> or other publications of the author's own works, including the author's
> personal web home page, and to make copies of all or part of such
> materials for the author's use for lecture or classroom purposes,
> provided that the first page of such use or copy prominently displays
> the bibliographic data and the following copyright notice:
> ``Copyright (year) by The American Physical Society.''
> Authors may post their PDF files on their own sites, not on e-print servers.

To summarize: It has now been clarified (by both the APS Editor in
Chief, Marty Blume, and the APS Product Development Manager, Mark
Doyle) that not only does APS copyright policy indeed allow its authors
to self-archive the authors' own (home-brew) final, refereed, accepted
drafts anywhere on the Net (as long as they're for free and cite the
APS official published version), but it even allows the APS's own
proprietary PDF page-images of the paper to be self-archived on the
author's own site.

Let me repeat: This is MORE than I (for one) ever asked for, and
certainly more than is needed to free the refereed literature for one
and all, TODAY, through open self-archiving, if all publishers made it
clear to authors that they have the same policy as the APS.

(Note that the refereed literature can be freed today, legally, even if
publishers do NOT adopt the APS policy, but author-uncertainty about
this is currently still holding us back from the optimal and the
inevitable; so the explicit statement of APS-equivalent policy would be
a great help in hastening the day, by decisively dispelling this

So please, contributors to the American Scientist Forum, do not cite or
interpret any of the minor APS constraints on self-archiving as in any
way at variance with either the letter or the spirit of the movement to
free the refereed literature, now.

[I hope it won't be considered churlish of me to add, even in the warm
and welcome light of the APS's enlightened and progressive policy, that
in the era of Santa-Fe-compliant, interoperable, open-archives, the
distinction between an author's "own site" and an "e-print server"
simply dissolves: All I have to do is adopt Santa-Fe-compliant
open-archiving software at my home site, register it as an open
archive, and it will be harvested into the seamless global virtual
archive that interoperability makes possible, along with all the other
open home-archives, by any of the search-engines keying on, say, the
agreed metadata tag for "REFEREED"...]

Public archiving is public archiving, freely accessible to all, no
matter how you baptize your website. That is the nature of the Web,
once the cat's out of the bag...

Stevan Harnad

NOTE: A complete archive of this ongoing discussion of providing free
access to the refereed journal literature is available at the American
Scientist September Forum (98 & 99 & 00):

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Received on Mon Jan 24 2000 - 19:17:43 GMT

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