Posting Manuscripts on the Web
Comments on Selected Portions of APA Proposed Policy
“Papers posted on the Internet may be considered in the “public domain” and downloaded, incorporated into someone else’s work and copyrighted by them (i.e., authors can “lose” their own copyrights and their own right to print publication).”
This is pretty stupid, as long as the posting gives adequate documentation of date and authorship, there is no basis for this warning.
“Authors are instructed not to put their manuscripts on the Internet at any stage (draft, submitted for publication, in press, or published). Authors should be aware that they run a risk of having (a) their papers stolen, altered, or distributed without their permission and, very importantly, (b) an editor regard such papers as previously “published” and not eligible as a submissiona position taken by most APA journal editors.”
I believe that this policy is unreasonable if the author’s web site is not a heavily promoted web site. In that situation, posting on the web is no different from distributing working papers.
In addition, the issue of theft is simply not relevant as long as an author has proof of date of authorship. Having something on the web in HTML format does make it easier to copy text, but otherwise, there is no difference from having someone retype from a paper copy. If you want to reduce the chance of easy duplication, post as an Acrobat file.
Sherman Hanna’s web pages