I am new to the process of scientific publication. As of the moment, I have two publications, one is open access (OA) and the other is not. I’ve noticed that our OA paper received more reads in ResearchGate compared to the non-OA paper. One of the reasons is probably because we didn’t upload the full text on the website. This leads me to explore options to share my non-OA paper to the public.

But before discussing what I learned from this endeavour, let me just share to the readers several ways to obtain papers for free, in case you’re not familiar with these things:

1. The old school way, emailing the authors! Ask for the copy of their paper.

2. The not so legal Sci-hub. I am a fan of Alexandra Elbakyan, the creator of Sci-Hub. You’re a hero! ❤

3. The legal but sometimes incomplete Unpaywall. (Nature News here)

4. Checking the author’s websites. They often upload the full-text in their the lab and personal websites.

5. Scholarly Collaborative Network (SCN) such as ResearchGate.

For me, it is extremely important that the authors make their papers publicly available. This is beneficial both for the researcher and the public. As mentioned above, I learned that I can post my non-OA manuscript in my personal website and ResearchGate. This is exactly what I did.

However, I’m anxious if I will encounter copyright issues if I opt to post our papers on these websites. After some reading, I learned that I will not encounter issues if I’ll upload the right version of the manuscript (see this forum). In my understanding, there are three versions of a paper – submitted version, accepted version, and the final published version (see examples below).

Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 2.31.50 PM.png
Submitted version. The submitted draft


Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 2.28.21 PM.png
Accepted version. This is the same as the submitted version but oftentimes it is marked as “accepted article.” This is the version that has been peer reviewed but has not undergone copyediting, typesetting, pagination,  and proofreading process.


Screen Shot 2017-06-26 at 2.28.01 PM.png
Final published version


Reading the Wiley’s Copyright Transfer Agreement (CTA), the journal (in our case, Wiley’s Molecular Ecology) licenses back the authors/contributors “the right to self-archive the Submitted Version on the Contributor’s personal website, place in a not for profit subject-based preprint server or repository or in a Scholarly Collaboration Network (SCN) which has signed up to the STM article sharing principles, or in the Contributor’s company/ institutional repository or archive.” 

Hence, it is totally legal to post the submitted version of the paper to the abovementioned websites (I uploaded our papers on this website, see Research). I wonder why some authors are not doing the same? For now, I cannot upload the accepted version since it has an embargo period of 12 months according to the CTA.

Finally, I cannot stress enough the fact that scientists should support open science. One of the main argument is shown below (also important to note Terry McGlynn’s view, detailed in his blog)

Science wants to be free! The public has a right to all scientific results immediately, particularly those funded by the public! It’s absolutely horrible that anybody should ever have to pay or be inconvenienced to get a copy of a scientific article!

P.S. You can also follow the following scientists in Twitter to know more about preprint, open science and more: Richard Sever (@cshperspectives), Jonathan Eisen (@phylogenomics) and Michael Eisen (@mbeisen).

That’s it for now. 🙂



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