As the second author of a paper published by IEEE am I allowed to provide a download link to a copy of that paper on my own website? The official paper can only be found at the IEEE CS Digital Library behind a paywall. I'd like to provide free access to it.

Does it make a difference if free download links of the paper can already be found with Google Scholar? Should I prefer to link to the download on the university's publication directory instead of providing my own?

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    It is almost always allowed to provide a download link to a preprint of a paper, and almost never allowed to provide a link to the published version (which is usually typeset by the journal). May 14 '14 at 19:56
  • @AlexBecker A counter example is ACM, which allows you to provide a link to the "definitive" version of your paper. May 14 '14 at 19:58
  • @AustinHenley Yes, there are definitely counter-example to my "almost never". I think it's still almost never, but this is changing with more and more journals warming to the idea of open-source. May 14 '14 at 20:11
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    One of the most comprehensive resources to answer this question is sherpa.ac.uk/romeo. May 14 '14 at 20:35
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    The general answer to this question is "read the copyright agreement you signed when the paper was published". May 14 '14 at 21:52

Yes, you can.

From https://www.ieee.org/documents/top10faq.pdf:

Can an author post his IEEE copyrighted paper on his personal or institutions’ servers? Yes. An author is permitted to post his IEEE copyrighted paper on his personal site and his institution’s server, but only the accepted version of his paper, not the published version as might be downloaded from IEEE Xplore.

Directly from their more recently updated paper policy (http://www.ieee.org/publications_standards/publications/rights/paperversionpolicy.html):

The policy reaffirms the principle that authors are free to post the accepted version of their article on their personal Web sites or those of their employers. Posting of the final, published PDF continues to be prohibited, except for open access articles, whose authors may freely post the final version.

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    Note that they sometimes really mean the "personal site" part. We once had a problem with Springer: somebody from our chair had put it on their project's website. Although it was a small site hosted completely on the chair's server, they sent a notice to remove it and explained that permission is granted to link it only from the author's page in the "staff" section of the chair site.
    – rumtscho
    May 14 '14 at 20:02
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    Sorry for being anal, but the question here is Is it legal to provide a copy of published IEEE paper on my personal website?. I think that the answer should be "No, you cannot. However, you can post your author-written version of the paper (namely postprint), which has almost the same identical content of the IEEE one".
    – user7112
    May 15 '14 at 6:39
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    @dgraziotin The question in the post says author of a paper published by IEEE, so my answer is correct. The title is ambiguous, is he referring to the paper without reference to the version or does he mean the version published by IEEE? I thought he meant the paper, with no regard to version. May 15 '14 at 13:40

Additionally to Austin Henley’s answer, you might want to check the copyright notices you signed for your papers. All the IEEE Copyright forms I’ve had so far (latest July 2020) are identical, and say the following (emphases mine):


  • Personal Servers. Authors and/or their employers shall have the right to post the accepted version of IEEE-copyrighted articles on their own personal servers or the servers of their institutions or employers without permission from IEEE, provided that the posted version includes a prominently displayed IEEE copyright notice and, when published, a full citation to the original IEEE publication, including a link to the article abstract in IEEE Xplore. Authors shall not post the final, published versions of their papers.
  • Classroom or Internal Training Use. […]
  • Electronic Preprints. […]

It’s probably a good idea to point to the publication you want people to cite anyways. And this could help distinguish what the IEEE means by « accepted version of his paper » as opposed to « final published PDF ».

While this difference is rather evident for a journal, where editors typeset the document, the distinction is less easy for conferences where you directly submit a PDF that is then published.

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