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How wise and legal is it to attach my published but copyrighted papers with my job application or even put up on the personal (academic) website? I see a lot of people posting their papers that I guess are copyrighted. Also many academic job applications ask for reprints of the papers.

May be I am not fully clear with the rules. I would like to be educated on this.

This and this say something regarding posting the manuscript on the website. I may not post my manuscript pdf but assign a link to the publisher's webpage for the paper. What if my new job application is asking for my papers to be attached?

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Like almost all such questions, the ultimate answer is "look at the copyright agreement you signed."

However, in almost all cases, it is fine to distribute copies of your papers privately to individual people, so I can't imagine there would be a problem with you sending your papers along with your application. In the past, publishers would give authors a certain number of paper "offprints" for exactly this purpose. Nowadays, you more often get an official PDF (with the journal's logo) that you can send to your friends and colleagues, and that would be just the thing to send with your application as it also proves that the paper was in fact published.

Posting on your web site is likely to be specifically addressed by the copyright agreement. Some publishers allow it, some do not, some allow the posting of only certain versions (e.g. before revisions based on peer review). So read what you signed. (And next time you publish a paper, read the agreement before you sign it!)

  • +1. "e.g. before revisions based on peer review". I believe in CS, it is nigh-on universal that you can publish on your homepage (and institute page) your own pre-print version after peer-review but not the final layout typeset by the publisher. – badroit May 15 '14 at 15:25

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