APA refocuses pilot program aimed at curtailing unauthorized publication of journal articles

Individual authors not program’s target, APA says

(15 June 2017, Washington)  The American Psychological Association announced today that it is targeting online piracy websites and not individual authors in its efforts to curtail the unauthorized sharing on the internet of articles published in the association’s journals.

The move — a change to a recently launched pilot program — came in response to concerns voiced by some authors who were surprised to hear from their academic institutions that they should remove final APA copyrighted articles from their websites.

“We are refocusing this program to target commercial piracy sites,” said APA Executive Publisher Jasper Simons. “We regret that our recent takedown messages upset some of our authors, who are not the target of the program. Our goal remains to preserve the integrity of the scholarly record and stop the illegal sharing of content on piracy sites. We support the non-commercial sharing of content by our authors in line with our posting guidelines.”

In February, the company Digimarc, under contract to APA, began sending article takedown notices to sites that had posted APA journal articles without permission. For the first 17 weeks of the pilot program, takedown notices targeted five APA journals. During that phase, APA found 72 percent of the articles published over two years in five APA journals were on pirate websites.

In the past week, APA moved into Phase 2 of the pilot, in which the takedown notices were expanded to all 29 of APA’s official journals. The takedown notices went primarily to online file-sharing/piracy websites, but notices also went to about 80 university websites found to be violating APA’s posting guidelines.

“We are sorry that we put the scholars in the middle,” Simons said. “APA welcomes and encourages the sharing of scientific research by APA authors. We value our work with the scientific community and want to continue this collaboration.”

Under APA’s publishing guidelines, authors are free to post the final accepted, preformatted versions of their articles — the accepted manuscript — on their personal websites, university repositories and author networking sites without an embargo. However, any posted manuscripts must include a note linking to the final published article, the authoritative document.

The American Psychological Association, in Washington, D.C., is the largest scientific and professional organization representing psychology in the United States. APA’s membership includes nearly 115,700 researchers, educators, clinicians, consultants and students. Through its divisions in 54 subfields of psychology and affiliations with 60 state, territorial and Canadian provincial associations, APA works to advance the creation, communication and application of psychological knowledge to benefit society and improve people’s lives.

The original announcement is here.