Remember when you had to go to the library to photocopy a paper, or send a little card to an author to request a hardcopy reprint? PDF’s and the Internet were supposed to change all that. Now, I know that the state of scientific publishing is actively mutating, and hasn’t settled yet, but I’m dismayed at a change in the access to a reprint of mine on Google Scholar.

I like Google Scholar because it usually has links directly to pdfs, as opposed to other scientific search engines that either don’t or have links buried somewhere on the page. That, and because Google Scholar is freely accessible anywhere, it’s very convenient when I’m travelling. But the link to a reprint of mine has changed.

Previously, when I searched in Google Scholar for “David Raikow” and found the listing for my paper “Bivalve diets in a midwestern US stream: A stable isotope enrichment study”, it linked directly to the pdf. This paper happens to be published in Limnology and Oceanography, and is freely accessible through their “Free Access Publication” program (meaning I paid a fee allowing free distribution):

 Free Access Publicationarticles are available without a subscription. All other articles less than five years old require a current subscription to L&O. Articles published five or more years ago are fully searchable without a subscription.

But now the link to the L&O reprint is secondary. The first link, the link attached to the paper’s title, now goes to JSTOR, which has this statement:

Want the full article? Loginto access JSTOR, or check our access options. You may have access for free through an institution.

 In other words, it’s now more difficult to find the reprint for free. I surely hope this trend does not continue. All this rasises the question: just what are rules governing reprint distribution these days? Do I have the right to post links to PDF’s myself? I’m going to look into this, so if you know of any guides please comment.

One thought on “Google Scholar changes reprint link from free site to pay site

  1. Whether or not it is technically legal to post pdfs on your own website depends on the journal. For example, Ecology and American Naturalist both allow you to post pdfs of your own articles. In contrast, many corporate publishing houses explicitly forbid this; Wiley-Blackwell being an example that is particularly relevant to ecologists (they’ll let you post the manuscript version, but not the final typeset copy of the article). Some journals ask/require that you wait some period of time before posting a copy of the paper (6 months – 1 year in the cases I’m familiar with). One really cool solution to the conflicting interests of the journal and the author that I’ve seen is that at Science instead of letting you post the actual pdf they send you a special link that allows free access to the paper on Science’s site. This allows them to count the hits and keep the advertising revenue, but lets the authors avoid the hassle of emailing reprints one at a time.

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