Full text

One of the benefits of the pressure for open access from funding bodies and governments is that academic publishers have opened their archives, and full text is typically available for papers from five years after publication. This is particularly valuable for mathematicians, since an important paper will still have impact long after five years have passed.

I have begun the job of putting links to full text versions of my papers into my publications list. While doing this, I observed that publishers have taken very different attitudes about how this is done. I am using the DOI mechanism wherever possible. There are two different sorts of information that publishers can provide: the actual paper (probably as a PDF file), and publication and citation information.

Here are how three academic publishers do it.

  • Oxford University Press have what is certainly the friendliest system I have found. They have attached DOIs to all the papers in their archive. The DOI takes you to a page with two frames, one of which has the PDF of the paper (which can be downloaded directly in Firefox), the other the citation details and information about the journal (which is useful to have available when you download, as you will probably need to label the file appropriately). The two frames have their own URLs, and can be linked to together or separately. Here is an example:
    • Peter J. Cameron, Finite permutation groups and finite simple groups, Bull. London Math. Soc. 13 (1981), 1-22; doi: 10.1112/blms/13.1.1
  • Springer-Verlag don’t, as far as I can see, use DOIs for this purpose, but have their own SpringerLink system. This gives journal and citation information, with a prominent button for downloading the PDF (but with the slight problem that you cannot then see the citation information while you download). Here is an example:
    • Peter J. Cameron, Dual polar spaces, Geometriae Dedicata 12 (1982), 75-85; full text
  • Elsevier once again use DOIs, which take you to the citation and journal information page. This has a download button, but almost as prominently a button labelled “Get rights and content”. To my eyes, this looks as if they are reserving the right to withdraw the free download at some future time. Here is an example:

About Peter Cameron

I count all the things that need to be counted.
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7 Responses to Full text

  1. Anonymous undergrad says:

    I expect I’m missing a trick here, not being particularly IT-literate, but whilst the links you have posted above give me rapid access to the full text of the Springer- and Elsevier-published articles in question, the link you’ve posted to your 1981 OUP-published article on Finite permutation groups and finite simple groups” takes me to a page which tells me “This item requires a subscription* to Bulletin of the London Mathematical Society” and blocks my access to the full text pdf. So from a non-subscribing user’s point of view, the OUP may not be the “friendliest”.

    • Thanks for letting me know about this: I will investigate further. I tried it from my hotel room this morning and got the message “Service unavailable”. I’ll keeo you posted if I find anything out. You certainly should be able to access these papers – that is what “Open archive” means, if it means anything.

      • Dima says:

        No, from home, without logging via the uni, I can’t get the fulltext of it, either (same applies to few other papers in the same issue of the journal).

  2. Dima says:

    in fact, http://www.lms.ac.uk/publications/blms says “Access is FREE to papers published online within the past 6 months. Full text access to older papers requires a subscription, but note that all Content Lists, Abstracts and Searches are free.”

    It’s about as open as a jail. 🙂

  3. Sorry for the misinformation. I seem to remember (but maybe I am wrong) that, in the notice about their new open access journal, the LMS mentioned that the moving paywall cut in after 6 months and out again after 5 years. It may be that I simply misremembered and this was never the policy. Or it may be that things got changed along the way.

    It is a curious situation anyway. The LMS journals have been produced by a variety of publishers: for my first paper it was a small East End firm called Hodgsons, if I remember correctly; later it was Cambridge University Press, now it is Oxford. Oxford have custody of all the archived material, whether they first published it or not. Given this, you might have thought they could be a little generous about allowing access to it; but apparently not.

    I assume it is OUP rather than the LMS driving this, since it seems that back issues of the Quarterly Journal are also not freely available.

    I haven’t had a chance to ask Susan Hezlet yet, but will do so sometime.

    • Dima says:

      LMS relationship with CUP is such a legal maze… I just got an email from CUP with a URL to an article I just published in a LMS journal, followed by a screenful of lawyerspeak implying I can’t make this link public (but one really has to read and understand all their notwithstanding therefroms to reach this conclusion).

      • Don’t you love it when publishers send you a link to your newly published paper which you can’t even read (without paying them $$$) if you are not logged in from a university computer? That’s what Elsevier just did to me …

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