This discussion paper points out some current contradictions for authors publishing scholarly articles. It is based on comments and opinions around author rights, practices, concerns and preferences with regard to research dissemination by Oxford academics. The paper concludes with a wish list of potential solutions.
It is intended as a reality check. Whilst we are in a world where researchers want to disseminate work freely, where gold OA is not ubiquitous and not currently financially sustainable, researchers and journal editors can help by changing the rules so that authors who undertake the research and who create the resulting papers can do with their own work what they want and need. The scholarly dissemination environment continues to change, but a complex stranglehold on dissemination by publishers is not going to help. We have a situation where publishers are promoting two mutually contradictory points at the same time, that is, claiming widest possible dissemination, coupled with limited and controlled sharing. That conundrum needs to be resolved: instead of publishers trying to change the culture and practice that academics already choose to share their work (such as the variety of platforms), they could change the rules and get rid of embargoes and complex sharing instructions. Many authors are ignoring them anyway.
Sally Rumsey, Head of Scholarly Communications & RDM Bodleian Digital Library Systems and Services, University of Oxford