Posting Copies of Your Published Papers

An independent scholar, Rebecca Morris, noted in an email that “it seems that it’s not uncommon for philosophers to avoid ‘self archiving’ their work.”

What she’s referring to is posting copies of your own papers on your own websites or in online repositorties such as PhilArchive.

To find out more about philosophers’ practices in this regard, she has created a short two-question survey. Please click here and take a moment to complete it. Thanks.


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2 years ago

The assumption in the first question, namely “assuming the journal allows it” is a pretty big assumption, and I’m not sure how much useful information is going to be obtained by assuming it. I’ve published in a couple of dozen different journals, and none of them allow public posting of my articles in their final, paginated format. So, for me, the question of would I do it if I could simply has never come up.Report

David Wallace
Reply to  Rob
2 years ago

Pagination is overrated, though. At least all the journals I’ve published in allow you to post the final submitted version.Report

Rebecca Morris
Reply to  Rob
2 years ago

Like Rob says, many journals won’t let you post the typeset article but my experience has been the same as David Wallace’s and I’ve always been able to post the “authors accepted manuscript.” I’ve noticed that some journals (e.g. Synthese, The Review of Symbolic Logic) also provide you with a link you can share that provides online access to the typeset article but doesn’t allow it to be downloaded. This then allows people to see the correct pagination.Report

Reply to  Rebecca Morris
2 years ago

Also, some journals (including, but not, I think, limited to, those published by OUP) allow you to post or “self archive” the edited/type set article after some time – usually one or two years. It’s sort of annoying to go back and change things, but it’s at least in principle possible, while remaining “in the rules” (for those who care) to post the final version on one’s web page or a site like SSRN after a time when this is allowed.Report

Kenny Easwaran
2 years ago

As Rob mentions, the more interesting question is how many people make their papers accessible even when the journal officially doesn’t allow it. Some people post everything very openly, regardless of the journal’s official rules, while others won’t post it but make very clear on their website that they’ll e-mail copies to anyone, while others stick closer to the official rules. That would be interesting to learn more of the statistics on (and I’m sure some of the journals might want to know those statistics too).Report

Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
2 years ago

I had the same thought. And a question: has anybody ever actually been sanctioned for posting a paper? For posting a preprint that doesn’t accord exactly with the journal’s rules?Report

Rebecca Morris
Reply to  grymes
2 years ago

I’ve made a new survey asking the questions raised by Rob, Kenny Easwaran and grymes. If you feel comfortable taking it, you can do so here:

Colleen Cressman
Colleen Cressman
Reply to  Kenny Easwaran
2 years ago

Note that your author contract supersedes the journal’s stated policies. Often your contract will refer to the journal’s policy on self-archiving, including where (your own website, a non-commercial repository, e.g.) and which version (the accepted MS, the submitted MS, the final published version). But it’s not always going to.

And importantly, it’s not always going to be the case that you can infer the author of a paper is violating their contract just because it appears the author is violating the journal’s stated policy. Here are two examples:

(1) An author may have negotiated her contract so that she has permission to post the accepted MS without that 12-24 month embargo — but we wouldn’t know from the outside looking in.

(2) An author may be covered under a prior agreement with her institution (i,e. a rights-retention policy) that enables her to make her accepted MS available in her institution’s OA repository without an embargo — and the author herself may not realize this.

For (1), her self-reporting would be enough to clear up the question of whether she has permission to post. For (2), she may mistakenly think she is just flouting her contract (or journal policy) by posting her submitted MS at month 0 when she does, in fact, already have permission to do so; her school’s OA policy may state that the author is subject to a prior license that states she’ll be making her accepted MS available no later than date of publication (regardless of whether the journal policy typically requires an embargo). Here, (2) is much more easily verifiable from our outside perspective since we can look up whether her affiliated institution has such a policy, and if so, match up some dates.

All this to say: Authors, when you feel up to it, please try to negotiate some of these permissions. You will often not get very far, but you can try to negotiate down that embargo on the accepted MS, for starters!Report

Joona Räsänen
2 years ago

You can check here which journals allow you to post previous versions of the article on your website (and which versions).

I have also collected this info regarding top philosophy journals (among some other relevant info for authors) here.

Rebecca Morris
2 years ago

Hi everyone,

Thanks for taking the survey! Here are the results:

First survey:

Q1: Assuming that the journal allows it, how often do you post copies of your published articles that are behind paywalls either on your personal website or in a repository like PhilArchive or the PhilSci-Archive?

122 responses:

67.2% Always
13.1% More often than not
6.6% only sometimes
13.1% Never

Q2: If you don’t always post copies of your articles on your own personal website or in a repository like PhilArchive or PhilSci-Archive, what are some of the reasons for this?

50 responses:

It takes too much time/I’m too busy 18%
I don’t have my own website/don’t know how to use repositories 20%
I don’t think it’s important to post my articles 18%
It hadn’t occurred to me to post my articles 4%
Other 48%

2nd survey
Q1 Do you post copies of your papers on your personal website or e-print archives like PhilPapers even if the journal it is published in does not allow it?

17 responses:

Yes, all the time 35.3%
Yes, sometimes 11.8%
No but I make it clear on my website I will email copies to anyone who is interested 29.4%
No, I don’t post the or make it clear on my website I will email copies to anyone who is interested 23.5%

Q2. If you answered “yes, all the time” or “yes, sometimes” to question 1, have you ever gotten in trouble with a journal for doing so? (If you did not answer “yes, all the time” or “yes, sometimes”, please leave this question blank).

No 100%Report