November 2011 Issue • Volume 39 • Issue 8

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Electronic Manuscript Posting Policies Updated

Janine Chiappa McKenna, ASA Publications Department

At its August 2011 meeting, the Committee on Publications reviewed a proposal from the Joint Subcommittee on Electronic Publishing to update ASA’s rules on manuscript eligibility regarding online posting of manuscripts before, during, and after publication. The policy, which had not been updated since 1997, was considered outdated, as online repositories have become the norm. This policy applies to a manuscript submitted for publication, not to final copyedited published articles, which may be published online only by ASA or its publisher.

The Subcommittee noted that "working papers are increasingly common online, and the prior posting of a paper on various websites should not preclude consideration of a paper in an ASA journal."  Peer-reviewed websites are exempt from this because the Subcommittee considers peer review to be analogous to publication.

Regarding papers posted online during and after publication, the Subcommittee felt "the continued availability of a pre-print version of papers online will help…[readers] find sociological scholarship." The proposal calls for authors to add text to any posted original manuscripts to direct readers to the final version published in an ASA journal to encourage readers to read and cite the official version of the paper.

The first proposed change removes the following language from the disclaimer ASA suggests authors include when posting a working paper on a personal Website or repository:

This paper may not be quoted, reproduced, distributed, transmitted or retransmitted, performed, displayed, downloaded, or adapted in any medium for any purpose, including, without limitation, teaching purposes, without the Author’s express written permission. Permission requests should be directed to [author’s e-mail address].

Authors are now requested to use the following text when posting a working paper:

"Copyright [year]. Name of author. All rights reserved. This paper is for the reader’s personal use only."
The next proposed change adds "peer-reviewed" to the previous policy so that it now reads:

Articles that have appeared in a peer-reviewed "electronic collection" or as part of a peer-reviewed "paper series" on a Website are considered by ASA to have been published previously and may not be submitted to an ASA publication.

The final proposed update significantly changes ASA’s policy on working papers posted after the final version has been published. The policy originally stated that once an article had been accepted for publication and the author(s) had signed the transfer of copyright, the article was to be removed from the author’s Website. The proposed update states the following:

Once a submitted article has been accepted for publication by an ASA journal, authors must, if possible, modify manuscripts or headers in non-peer-reviewed electronic collections (including their own personal Websites) to indicate that the paper is forthcoming in an ASA journal. Once the article is published, authors should modify manuscripts or headers to indicate that a revised version of the paper is now published, and should include a complete citation to the published paper.

The proposal passed unanimously in the Committee’s executive session. 

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