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I have recently published an article (written in English) in a Finnish scientific magazine (for outreach mostly). This magazine reaches only a few thousand people in Finland. Most of the articles are not made available online and, those that are, are so behind a subscription paywall. It is thus extremely unlikely that the wider potential audience in my field will be able to access it.

Because of this, I have asked the publisher for permission to post the article on a repository (likely to be the arXiv), to which they have agreed after a 6 month embargo.

I am now wondering if it would make sense to publish this in an international scientific journal as an outreach piece.

Assume that the original publisher in Finland grants me permission to do this (with attribution, linking back to the original source, etc). What about the international publisher? Are there journals, specifically in physics and chemistry, that would consider republishing an article whose copyright belongs to a different publisher and that does not represent an original contribution?

  • If there is already a journal publication and a freely-available version, what is the motivation for releasing a third copy? – David Ketcheson Dec 11 '18 at 11:38
  • Did you publish the first paper in English or in Finnish? – The Guy Dec 11 '18 at 11:55
  • @DavidKetcheson The motivation is to gain more visibility. I guess the same reason why people prefer to publish in Nature than in Scientific Reports. Also, note that the work is originally published in a magazine, not a journal. – Miguel Dec 11 '18 at 12:49
  • @TheGuy English, I should have mentioned that. – Miguel Dec 11 '18 at 12:50
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What about the international publisher? Are there journals, specifically in physics and chemistry, that would consider republishing an article whose copyright belongs to a different publisher?

Typically an academic publisher will not republish a published work, since publishers are seeking novel contributions (and copyright issues will arise, albeit the OP assumes those away). This can be sidestepped by significantly extending the original work with a new, novel contribution.

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You can't do this and it's not because of copyright, but because journals generally don't accept unoriginal contributions. For example from Elsevier's policies and ethics page:

Originality and plagiarism: The authors should ensure that they have written entirely original works, and if the authors have used the work and/or words of others, that this has been appropriately cited or quoted.

Springer's publishing ethics page:

Maintaining integrity of the research and its presentation can be achieved by following the rules of good scientific practice, which include ... The manuscript has not been published previously (partly or in full), unless the new work concerns an expansion of previous work (please provide transparency on the re-use of material to avoid the hint of text-recycling (‘self-plagiarism’)).

  • I know that journals generally (as you write) don't accept unoriginal contributions. The whole point of the question is to find our if there are journals that might make exceptions under some circumstances. (I will edit the question) – Miguel Dec 11 '18 at 12:51
  • @Miguel That sounds like a shopping question, which aren't permitted. – user2768 Dec 11 '18 at 13:01
  • @Miguel if there are any non-predatory journals that will accept unoriginal contributions, I'm not aware of them, unfortunately. – Allure Dec 11 '18 at 22:40
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Legally, the copyright and license status is important. If you signed away all your copyright upon publication in the Finnish journal, you need permission. If you granted an exclusive license, you cannot except by revoking/adjusting the original license. If you granted a non-exclusive license you're free to do as you please.

Professionally, it depends. It is generally frowned upon to republish exact works (translations less of a problem). There are exceptions (e.g., medical guidelines are often republished across journals for maximum reach), but the best advice here is to supply this information in the submission or ask the editor (say it's already published in XY and why you're looking to submit anyway). Note that for publishers a large part of it is due to the legal issues outlined above (e.g., commercial publishers want the full copyright assigned to them to maximize revenue they can get from publishing your article and any activity they want to with it afterwards).

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