I'm working on a book but it's far from done, so I'm thinking of uploading much of its content on Academia.edu first, in the form of stand-alone articles. This would be without copyright, I presume, unless Academia.edu automatically adds copyright to articles that are uploaded to its website. So, if I were to do that, would I still be able to eventually publish the book (with copyright), since much of its content would be very similar to the articles I'd have written and shared on Academia.edu. I'd basically be converting the individual articles back into book chapters.

I'd very much appreciate an explanation as to whether I would have to paraphrase/quote from my articles in the book and cite them as sources, and whether I would be allowed to copy and paste large sections from my articles (without paraphrasing/quoting).

2 Answers 2


The arXiv contains many book chapters and book drafts. A few random examples: https://arxiv.org/abs/1908.06165 https://arxiv.org/abs/1709.07809 https://arxiv.org/abs/1502.04780

An example outside academia: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Martian_(Weir_novel)

Uploading drafts can allow you to get useful feedback. You are still allowed to do what you want with them afterwards. Claims that publishers might object need not be trusted unless they come with some specific evidence.


I would strongly advise you not to upload anything openly on the internet. If you do so, it is extremely unlikely that any decent, good publisher would ever agree to publish your book. In order for their business model to be sustainable, they must have the privileged right to publish your content.

Publishing the majority of the book on the Internet without significant changes makes it almost impossible for publishers to break even. The only exception is if you pay the publisher the exorbitant fees that are necessary to make a book as "Open Access", but even in this situation, you would still be putting yourself in an extremely risky position, as I think most good publishers would still refuse to publish you.

Even when you are transferring previously-published content into a new book (say, your previous journal articles and book chapters), almost every publisher will demand you to either significantly rephrase and expand on the contents of those papers, or ask direct permission from the journal/book publishers to reuse the content (if you handed over copyright to them as a condition for publishing your research). Note however that it is far more common for publishers to force you to rewrite and expand previously-published work.

Reuse of previously-published work is usually only accepted by publishers if the author is already well-known and has had a long, successful career. Furthermore, reuse of materials in a book (without significant changes), that were previously published in the Internet, is generally considered to be a form of self-plagiarism. Of course, if we are talking about an anthology of published work by a reputed author, there is no problem, but that does not seem to be your situation here.

In other words, publishing your work in advance is a very risky, almost certainly a losing proposition. If you go ahead with this plan, it's likely that the only publishers who will agree to publish you are predatory/vanity presses.

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