Journal Copyright

In a message to the philosophy listserv PHILOSOP, Aaron Sloman wrote the following:

More philosophers should put their papers online: not everyone has access to printed versions — so they are often useless for potential readers. I always cross out restrictive paragraphs on journal copyright forms and so far no publisher has objected. The enlightened publishers already allow papers to be put on personal web sites as long as the printed version is referenced.

I always put my papers online.  I used to publish online a penultimate version, under the assumption that since it’s not identical to the published version, it’s ok.  Lately, taking a cue from the copyright form of Australasian Journal of Philosophy, I’ve started posting the last version sent to the publisher (before proof corrections) but with a caveat along the following lines:

This is a preprint of an article whose final and definitive form will be published in The Australasian Journal of Philosophy (2007); The Australasian Journal of Philosophy is available online at:

I’ve never crossed out anything on copyright forms.  Sloman seems to suggest that it’s perfectly ok to do that.

Question 1: What do people think about the copyright issue, and how to handle it?

Question 2: If you have any experience crossing out sections of journal copyright forms, what exactly did you cross out, and did the journal simply accept the form as you modified it?

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