Journal Policies

How to request permission to disseminate your publication?

Dissemination, for example sharing or posting, of a scientific publication remains the privilege of the holder of the reproduction rights, i.e. the author or, very often, the publisher to whom the author may have assigned these rights via the publication contract.

However, the law provides for exceptions, allowing in certain specific cases re-use without having to ask for permission from the rights holder (e.g. educational exception, art. 19, para. 1, let. b CopA). The rights holder can also specify, by affixing a Creative Commons licence to the publication, that certain re-uses are authorised for all.

Thus, before disseminating or sharing a scientific publication online, it is advisable to check :

  1. Whether an exception provided for by the law authorises the desired use (e.g. restricted access for educational purposes, use in the private circle, etc.), or
  2. Whether the document is licensed under a Creative Commons license, or
  3. If the rights holder (the author(s) or very often the publisher) authorises one to do so.

This last point is valid for everyone, including the authors of the publication if they have assigned their reproduction rights to their publisher through the publication contract.

How do I know what the publisher allows?

Generally, publishers allow the author to freely disseminate their publication while setting a certain number of reservations or limitations:

  • Place of dissemination 
    (personal website, open archive or academic social network may be allowed or precisely forbidden. Open archives or institutional repositories are generally allowed)
  • Embargo period between the official publication and its dissemination elsewhere by the author
  • Version of the publication disseminated by the author
    (dissemination of the publisher's formatted and logoed version may be prohibited, while dissemination of the author's latest version, the AAM or Author Accepted Manuscript, is generally allowed)

These conditions can be found in the publication contract, be requested from the publisher, or be present on the publisher's website. Each publisher has its own terminology and way of presenting things (e.g. Taylor & Francis, IOP, or Wiley)
Faced with this heterogeneity and dispersion of information, the sherpa romeo website is a valuable resource, since it summarises the policy of each journal, and allows the author to know the options available to freely disseminate their scientific article.

It should be noted that for Swiss publishers, in the absence of a publication contract, the provisions of Article 382 of the Code of Obligations CO apply. They provide that "The author’s rights to the work are transferred to the publisher to the extent and for as long as required for performance of the contract" (Art. 381). However, art. 381 provides that articles "may be published elsewhere by the originator at any time" (para. 2) as long as they are not" published elsewhere by the originator within three months of the appearance in print of such contribution or article" (para. 3).

What if my publisher's policy is unsatisfactory?

If it does not suit you, or if it does not comply with the Open Access requirements of your funder or institution, then it is worth proposing an addenda to the contract or sending the publisher the standard email proposed by the SNSF to negotiate the embargo period:

**** Standard e-mail of SNSF ****

Dear Sir or Madam,

The article “TITLE” is the result of research funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF). Researchers who were awarded an SNSF grant are required to provide open access to publications containing the results of their research. Accordingly, at least the ‘author’s accepted manuscript’ of an article needs to be made available within 6 months of initial publication in an institutional or discipline-specific repository.

In order to satisfy the SNSF requirement and be able to continue publishing in “Name of journal” in the future, I kindly ask you for permission to publish the ‘author’s accepted manuscript’ of my article after 6 months in a not-for-profit repository.