Elsevier Takedown Notices: A Q&A with Peter Suber | Harvard Library Portal

“[Q:] Some authors say that posting their own articles to their own web sites is commonplace and promotes research. They are angry that Elsevier is interfering with this practice. Can you comment? [A:] It is commonplace and it does promote research. I’m sure that publishers have long known about the practice. But until recently they tended to tolerate it. These takedown notices mean that Elsevier is starting to enforce its rights to stop this practice. I sympathize with author frustration. They wrote these articles, and they have good reasons to want to share them with anyone who wishes to read, apply, or build upon them. At the same time, while they wrote these articles, they no longer own them, or no longer own all the rights to them. Elsevier acquired certain rights from authors and is entitled to act on the rights it has acquired. Speaking personally, authors can’t blame Elsevier for enforcing the rights they gave it. If they dislike what Elsevier is doing, they should submit future work to a different publisher. If they want to give the world free access to their articles, and I hope they do, they should take advantage of the lawful alternative Harvard has created through its open-access policies and open-access repository….”