APS News

APS Copyright Revision Expands Author Rights

By Nadia Ramlagan

APS has recently revised the copyright transfer form for journal articles, in order to give the author additional rights. The new agreement allows authors to make and hold copyright for “derivative works” that contain at least at least 10% new material, and not more than 50% of the published APS journal article. If these conditions are not met, the author must obtain explicit permission from APS.

Revisions to APS copyright policies have been under discussion with input from the community over the last two years. The emerging philosophy regarding copyright is to keep only those rights that APS needs to safeguard the continuity and value of the journals and to cede the rest to authors.

APS strongly advocates reusing article ideas and material in conference proceedings and classroom lectures; it is the posting of full articles on open content encyclopedia projects like Wikipedia or Quantiki that presents a copyright issue, as such sites have strict regulations requiring that authors hold copyright to material that they post. The policy lets authors reuse material from their APS journal articles when writing for a new audience, widening the scope of freedom of authors to create derivative works and to post on sites like Wikipedia.

“The APS goal is to allow authors maximum freedom to repurpose their papers for other audiences, and take only the rights that we  must have to continue to provide quality publications to the physics community,” said Gene Sprouse, APS Editor- in-Chief.

APS also gives authors the right to post and update a paper on their (or their employer’s) website and on free e-print servers such as arXiv. Authors are entitled to provide full copies of their paper, for research purposes, to a colleague or third party as long as a fee is not charged. Third parties can use copies for teaching also, but incorporation into course notes for more than one semester requires APS permission.

The change reflects the accommodation of APS Journal polices to advances in the way scientific literature is communicated, and the means by which APS takes into consideration future dissemination of knowledge, while protecting and preserving the archive of physics research.

Physical Review is really a community project–a public record of what is important in physics, and we try to act in a way that doesn’t harm that. But it’s hard to tell where technology is going and what will be most useful to subscribers,” said APS Treasurer Joe Serene. 

APS encourages the redistribution of the materials included in this newspaper provided that attribution to the source is noted and the materials are not truncated or changed.

Editor: Alan Chodos
Associate Editor: Ernie Tretkoff