Re: APS copyright policy

From: Thomas J. Walker <tjwalker_at_MAIL.IFAS.UFL.EDU>
Date: Fri, 1 Mar 2002 17:08:07 -0500

I agree with Stevan's interpretation that self-archiving of the
APS-formatted version is not legal.
I also agree with his conclusion that APS policy encourages self-archiving
of preprints and updates of preprints.

However, for a society that so clearly takes member interests into account,
I cannot understand why APS does not allow its authors to pay a fair price
to have the PDF versions of their articles freely available concurrent with
paper publication. If APS wants to serve its members and the cause of free
access, it should offer an immediate-free-web-access (IFWA) service. Such
a service would include posting the PDF versions on arXiv and allowing
authors to self-archive their APS formatted versions on any server.

Offering an IFWA service would have minimal direct costs to APS, so a fair
but profit-making price should not exceed 75% of the cost of 100 paper
reprints (e.g., $269 x 0.75 = $202 for a 7-page article).

The Entomological Society of America has offered an IFWA service for two
years, and in 2001 had a gross income of $31,259 from IFWA sales. [For
IFWA, ESA charges 75% of the cost of 100 paper reprints, but its prices for
paper reprints are less than half those of APS. ESA gets $95 for IFWA to a
7-page article.]

Here are some advantages that would accrue if APS offered an IFWA service:

APS authors could have the official version of their refereed articles
immediately and conveniently available to all.

APS authors could avoid preparing corrigenda for their arXiv'd preprints.

Users of arXiv could avoid having to combine preprints with their
corrigenda [possible only if authors post corrigenda].

And of course APS would have a revenue source that would help it transition
to universal free access.

Tom Walker

At 03:45 PM 3/1/2002 +0000, you wrote:
>On Fri, 1 Mar 2002, Thomas J. Walker wrote:
> > Do authors who publish in an American Physical Society journal and sign the
> > APS copyright transfer agreement have the legal right to post the
> > APS-formatted versions of their articles on their own or their department's
> > Web servers if these servers are OIA compliant?
> >
> > (4) The right to post and update the Article on e-print servers as long as
> > files prepared and/or formatted by APS or its vendors are not used for that
> > purpose. Any such posting made or updated after acceptance of the Article
> > for publication shall include a link to the online abstract in the APS
> > journal or to the entry page of the journal.
>I expect that Marty Blume, Arthur Smith or Mark Doyle will be replying
>for APS. I just want to suggest that the APS policy as stated above
>is eminently reasonable, and I, for one, would consider cause of open
>access and the research community abundantly well-served if all journal
>publishers were to adopt the above policy as their model.
>(1) It explicitly allows both the pre-refereeing preprint and the
>post-refereeing postprint to be self-archived by the author/institution.
>This is all the BOAI self-archiving FAQ asks of publishers:
> "What can publishers do to facilitate self-archiving? "
>(2) It requires a link to the publisher's proprietary version. (A very
>reasonable thing to have, for scholarly and authentication purposes.)
>(3) It does not allow the publisher's PDF page-images themselves to be
>self-archived: This is a slight inconventience, but it has an advantage
>too: It helps in the unbundling of essential and optional products/services
>that will be necessary in order to produce a stable, viable cost-recovery
>model in the open access era. For as long as there continues to be a
>market for the publisher's enhanced PDF, with its add-ons, the
>essential costs of peer review will continue to be covered the old way
>(by subscriptions/licenses from the reader-institutions that still wish
>to continue buying them). If/when there is no longer a market for the
>publisher's enhanced PDF, it will no longer be produced and sold, and
>the essential peer-review costs that turn the preprint into the
>postprint and certify the outcome can be paid for on the
>author-institution-end, per paper, out of the windfall savings on the
>prior costs of the optional reader-institution-end product.
>Stevan Harnad

Thomas J. Walker
Department of Entomology & Nematology
PO Box 110620 (or Natural Area Drive)
University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32611-0620
E-mail: (or
FAX: (352)392-0190
Received on Fri Mar 01 2002 - 23:22:27 GMT

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