Takedown Notices from Publishers: What are your rights?

Chris Diaz, Residency Librarian, Scholarly Communications & Collections
Karen Fischer, Collections Analysis Librarian

You may have read in the Washington Post or the Chronicle of Higher Education that users of Academia.edu have had their research papers taken down from their profile pages. Elsevier, the largest publisher of journals in the Scientific, Technical, and Medical fields, has been sending takedown notices to third-party websites, like Academia.edu, hosting research articles published in their journals. As the copyright holder, Elsevier is within their rights to do this because publishing agreements often give them the exclusive right to sell and distribute the article, thus prohibiting sharing of those articles by the author or anyone else.

The University of Iowa Libraries offers a number of options to support and encourage the permissible posting of research articles online. As the author of an original research paper, you can decide how you want your findings to reach your audience. By publishing in an academic journal, you are within your rights to negotiate for terms that suit your needs. One way to do this is to attach the University of Iowa’s Author’s Addendum to your next publishing agreement. This addendum preserves your right to share your work online through a personal website or Iowa Research Online, the University’s open access archive for scholarship. Iowa Research Online is a free resource for making scholarship available online and preserved in perpetuity by the Libraries. In addition to hosting and preserving research articles, Iowa Research Online accepts conference proceedings, presentations, and multimedia to meet the diverse methods by which scholars share their work.

If you have received a takedown notice from a publisher or have any questions about copyright or publishing agreements, please contact your librarian for assistance. To learn more about the University Libraries’ publishing services, please visit our informative guides on Scholarly Publishing issues and Copyright. We look forward to helping you in your scholarly endeavors.