Latest APA Deposit Policy Allows Authors to Self-Archive Articles in Institutional Repositories and on Personal Web Sites

The latest revision of the American Psychological Association's "Document Deposit Policy and Procedures for APA Journals" permits authors to self-archive final peer-reviewed copies of NIH-funded articles in institutional repositories and on personal Web sites.

Here's an excerpt from the policy:

Authors of manuscripts to be published in APA journals may post a copy of the final peer-reviewed manuscript, as a word processing, PDF, or other type file, on their personal Web site or on their employer's server after the manuscript is accepted for publication. The following conditions would prevail: The posted article must carry an APA copyright notice and include a link to the APA journal home page, and the posted article must include the following statement: "This article may not exactly replicate the final version published in the APA journal. It is not the copy of record.” APA does not provide electronic copies of the APA published version for this purpose, and authors are not permitted to scan in the APA published version.

The revised policy also indicates that the final published article may be deposited by the APA in PubMed Central if required by a funding agency other than the NIH (for NIH-funded research "the final 'Word' version of the author-generated manuscript with all changes based on peer-review editorial feedback and found acceptable by the editor" will be deposited by the APA without charging the author's institution).

Peter Suber has commented on this revised policy in his "New Interim Policy from the APA" posting.

One thought on “Latest APA Deposit Policy Allows Authors to Self-Archive Articles in Institutional Repositories and on Personal Web Sites”

  1. There is something much more fundamental to this issue than APA’s quick (and predictable) reversal of its attempt to impose a surcharge on direct deposit in PubMed Central:

    Please see:

    The OA Deposit-Fee Kerfuffle: APA’s Not Responsible; NIH Is. PART II.

    Here is a summary:

    The concept underlying the OAI metadata harvesting protocol is that local, distributed, content-provider sites each provide their own content and global service-provider sites harvest that content and provide global services over it, such as indexing, search, and other added values. (This is not a symmetric process. It does not make sense to think of the individual content-providers as “harvesting” their own content (back) from global service-providers.)

        The question is accordingly whether OA deposit mandates should be (1) convergent, with both institutional and funder mandates requiring deposit in the author’s own OA Institutional Repository (IR), for harvesting by global overlay OA services and collections (such as PubMed Central, PMC) or (2) divergent, requiring authors to deposit all over the map, locally or distally, possibly multiple times, depending on field and funding. It seems obvious that coordinated, convergent IR deposit mandates from both institutions and funders will bring universal OA far more surely and swiftly than needless and counterproductive divergence.

        In the interests of a swift, seamless, systematic, global transition to universal OA, NIH should accordingly make one tiny change (entailing no loss at all in content or functionality) in its otherwise invaluable, historic, and much-imitated mandate: NIH should mandate IR deposit and harvest to PMC from there.

        The spirit of the Congressional directive that publicly funded research should be made publicly accessible online, free for all, is fully met once everyone, webwide, can click on the link to an item whose metadata they have found in PMC, and the article instantly appears, just as if they had retrieved it via Google, regardless of whether the item’s URL happens to be in an IR or in PMC itself.

        A possible reason the NIH mandate took the divergent form it did may have been a conflation of access archiving with preservation archiving: But the version that NIH has (rightly) stipulated for OA deposit (each “investigator’s… electronic version of their final, peer-reviewed manuscripts upon acceptance for publication”) is not even the draft that is in the real need of preservation; it is just a supplementary copy, provided for access purposes: The definitive version, the one that really stands in need of preservation, is not this author-copy but the publisher’s official proprietary version of record.

        For preservation, the definitive document needs to be deposited in an archival depository (preferably several, for safe-keeping, updating and migration as technology evolves), not an OA collection like PMC. But that essential archival deposit/preservation function has absolutely nothing to do with either the author or with OA.

    Stevan Harnad

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