Elsevier's self-archiving policy

From: Peter Suber <peters_at_earlham.edu>
Date: Tue, 2 Jul 2002 14:13:52 +0100

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In an article in the July 5 _Chronicle of Higher Education_ on
institutional eprint archives, Jeffrey Young summarizes Elsevier's
self-archiving policy in these words:

>Elsevier does allow its authors to publish their papers in institutional
>repositories or other noncommercial archives, provided that the authors
>ask permission first. He says that fewer than 5 percent of authors ask.

Young interviewed Arie Jongejan, head of Elsevier's Science and Technology
division. So perhaps this summary of company policy is based on Jongejan's

Young's article

Since the _Chronicle_ article will have wide distribution, I'd like to note
three qualifications to its summary of Elsevier's policy.

(1) Elsevier allows authors to put preprints in public archives without
special permission. The archived preprint may remain online after the
postprint is published. Elsevier does not allow authors to update the
online preprint to match the published postprint.

(2) Elsevier allows authors to put even postprints into institutional
repositories provided that these are not accessible to the public.

(3) Elsevier's CEO, Derk Haank, gave an interview with Richard Poynder in
the April 2002 _Information Today_ in which he described a far more liberal
archiving policy than the one described in the _Chronicle_ or the Elsevier
web site. Here is the key excerpt from the Poynder interview.

>[Haank] "We consider open archiving to be in line with our policy of open
>linking, which we have always supported. As a founding father of CrossRef,
>we realize that other initiatives like open archiving could be another
>means to the same end." [...]
>[Poynder] "You imply that open archiving is the same as CrossRef, but
>CrossRef assumes that linked articles are all behind a financial firewall.
>Open archiving, by contrast, depends on researchers self-archiving their
>articles on the Web so that anyone can access them at no cost. Supposing
>an academic wants to publish a paper in one of your journals, but to
>self-archive it on the Web as well. Would that be acceptable to Elsevier?"
>[Haank] "You can put your paper on your own Web site if you want. The only
>thing we insist on is that if we publish your article you don't publish it
>in a Springer or Wiley journal, too. In fact, I believe we have the most
>liberal copyright policy available."

To me these statements imply (1) that Haank would allow Elsevier authors to
archive postprints as well as preprints without case-by-case permission,
and (2) that postprints may be put in publicly accessible archives. I
asked him in an April letter whether the Budapest Open Access Initiative
would be justified in drawing these inferences from his interview, but he
has not replied.

Peter Suber, Professor of Philosophy
Earlham College, Richmond, Indiana, 47374
Email peters_at_earlham.edu
Web http://www.earlham.edu/~peters

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Received on Tue Jul 02 2002 - 14:13:52 BST

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