Re: "Authors Re-using Their Own Work"

From: <C.Oppenheim_at_LBORO.AC.UK>
Date: Mon, 27 Jul 2009 12:19:04 +0100

Stevan, you are not  correct, but there is are ways round the
The query referred to cases where the author has ASSIGNED copyright
to Sage.   Sage then owns the copyright and  is perfectly entitled to
say what can be done with the article. Crucially, if something is not
mentioned as permitted, it is forbidden.  So if you have assigned
copyright to Sage, you cannot do anything other than those things
listed as permitted by Sage. Sorry, that's not being formalistic,
it's the law.
There is an incredibly easy way round this problem!  Sage don't
REQUIRE authors to assign copyright.  The author should ask Sage
for its standard Licence to Publish form, sign that, and then the
author can do what he/she likes with the materials.  Sage willingly
and without quibble (unlike some publishers) do this for you.
Incidentally, Stevan's point (3) is valid, and is an alternative to
using the Licence to Publish method.

Professor Charles Oppenheim
Department of Information Science
Loughborough University
Leics LE11 3TU

Tel 01509-223065
Fax 01509 223053
e mail


From: American Scientist Open Access Forum
On Behalf Of Stevan Harnad
Sent: 27 July 2009 12:02
Subject: "Authors Re-using Their Own Work"

On 27-Jul-09, at 5:39 AM, [identity deleted] wrote:

      Hello Stevan,

      Could I ask you to have a quick look at SAGE's terms for
      "Authors Re-using Their Own Work"?  It seems to me that
      it forbids the "email eprint request" button:

      (The link is from this page: )

      It says you can distribute photocopies of the published
      article to your colleagues on an individual basis, but
      not electronic versions.  On my reading, there's a
      12-month embargo on circulating electronic copies of the
      refereed version of the article in any way.  Wouldn't
      this prohibit the "email eprint request"

(1) The SAGE "author-re-use"document says "You can distribute photocopies." It does not say "You cannot 
distribute electronic versions." It simply does not
say "You can distribute electronic versions."

(2) There are many other things the SAGE "author-re-use"
document does not say you can do with your own work, including that
you can distribute corrected versions, laminated versions, or
versions in Gothic script.

(3) And in saying things that you can and cannot do with your own
work, the SAGE "author-re-use" document is not restricting itself to
the things a publisher can and cannot tell you that you can and
cannot do with your own work. For example, publisher "permissions"
regarding what you can and cannot do with your pre-submission
preprint prior to acceptance of the refereed postprint are rather
far-fetched (e.g., making corrections in it).

(4) But the short answer to your query is this: No, there is nothing
either defensible or enforceable that a publisher can do or say to
prevent a researcher from personally distributing individual copies
of his own research findings to individual researchers, for research
purposes, in any form he wishes, analog or digital, at any time. That
is what researchers have been doing for many decades, whether or not
their right to do so was formally enshrined in a
publisher's "author-re-use" document.

SAGE is a ROMEO pale-green
That means they endorse authors making their pre-refereeing preprints
Open Access immediately (and they endorse making authors'  refereed
postprints Open Access after a one-year embargo). During the embargo,
SAGE authors (like any authors) are of course free to send an
individual copy (whether analog or digital) of their refereed
postprint to any individual user who requests an individual copy for
research purposes. Nor is SAGE or any publisher entitled to dictate
to the author how they may lick the stamp or stroke the key that will
mail or email the reprint or eprint to the requester.

If I may make one suggestion to researchers who are puzzling over
what they can and cannot do with their published research articles:
Please use common sense rather than falling into (or for) formalistic

Stevan Harnad
Received on Mon Jul 27 2009 - 14:09:58 BST

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