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Publishing: A row over rights


Why publishers and funders are arguing about how researchers can use their own papers

This year, some fifty of the world’s leading scholarly publishers have squared off with two dozen major funders in an increasingly tense row over who can publish what version of a research paper, and when they can do it. The outcome could determine the future of how research is disseminated.

Generally, research papers come in three main forms. Many researchers now publish ‘preprints’ of their work online—author-created papers that are uploaded to preprint servers without any peer review or journal involvement. If a paper does go through an academic journal, at some point an ‘author-accepted manuscript’ or AAM will be produced. This is the paper after it has been reviewed, perhaps revised, and finally accepted for publication in a journal. The third is the ‘version of record’, or VOR—the paper after it has been formatted and edited and otherwise tweaked for publication by the journal.

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