I ride the bus to campus in the mornings with a man who is the Assistant Editor of an Elsevier journal here at UNC. I don’t know if he’d want me to name him, so I won’t. We’ve been talking over the course of a few months about scholarly publishing and Elsevier and predatory pricing and institutional repositories and the scholarly communications convocation. Anyway, this morning he hands me a copy of his journal’s Transfer of Copyright Agreement, so I could read this:

General Terms of Publication

1. As an author you (or your employer or institution) may do the following:

  • make copies (print or electronic) of the article for your own personal use, including for your own classroom teaching use;
  • make copies and distribute such copies (including through e-mail) of the article to research colleagues, for the personal use by such colleagues (but not commercially or systematically, e.g. via an e-mail list or list server);
  • post a pre-print version of the article on Internet websites including electronic pre-print servers, and to retain indefinitely such version on such servers or sites;
  • post a revised personal version of the final text of the article (to reflect changes made in the peer review and editing process) on your personal or institutional website or server, with a link to the journal homepage (on elsevier.com);
  • present the article at a meeting or conference and to distribute copies of the article to the delegates attending such meeting;
  • for your employer, if the article is a ‘work for hire’, made within the scope of your employment, your employer may use all or part of the information in the article for other intra-company use (e.g. training);
  • retain patent and trademark rights and rights to any process or procedure described in the article;
  • include the article in full or in part in a thesis or dissertation (provided that this is not to be published commercially);
  • use the article or any part thereof in a printed compilation of your works, such as collected writings or lecture notes (subsequent to publication of the article in the journal); and
  • prepare other derivative works, to extend the article into book-length form, or to otherwise re-use portions or excerpts in other works, with full acknowledgement of its original publication in the book.

It’s dated 6/04, so it’s not exactly new news. But Elsevier didn’t exactly go out of their way to publicize it, as far as I can tell.

There are a few of these items that I think are especially interesting:

  • post a revised personal version of the final text…: In other words, you can put a full-text copy of the article up on your personal website, as long as you don’t just copy the published version. This is cool, since, as Steve Lawrence tells us, articles available online get cited more. On the other hand, who’s really going to take the time to edit their own preprint to reflect editorial changes? More likely people will just post their preprint versions & leave it at that, making it necessary for readers to go to the journal to get the definitive version.
  • use the article or any part thereof in a printed compilation of your works…: Reprint rights! Woo hoo! Creating course packs just got easier.