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I have few papers already published in certain journals which cannot be uploaded on ResearchGate due to copyright issues, now is it legal to upload my own version of the paper formatted in LaTeX or in other words the manuscript I sent for publication that was not typeset for journal publication?

  • "my own typset paper" is often referred to as a preprint. – Cape Code Jul 15 '16 at 4:28
  • I have changed the title accordingly. – nxkryptor Jul 15 '16 at 14:40
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As one of the other answers says, typesetting is completely irrelevant--the question is whether or not you are authorized to upload the content.

The RoMEO website has documentation on the precise legal authorizations of every major journal publisher, and of an extensive list of journals. You can consult it to quickly confirm what exactly the journals you've published in authorize you to do.

Their information is not always 100% accurate, but it's above 95% accurate. I've sent them corrections and they are quite conscientious to update their information, and they usually have direct links to the publishers' copyright statements so that you can verify what they say.

I will note though, that a very large amount of the time, it is not authorized to upload to general repositories like ResearchGate, Academia.edu, SSRN or arXiv (depending on the journal). If you want a safe place to load your articles, the most commonly authorized places are your personal website or your institution's open access repository.

  • Excellent answer that can be used by anyone in every field – Emilie Jul 15 '16 at 15:41
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In general, the typesetting is irrelevant, as far as copyright law is concerned; the law protects the content, not just the specific file. If posting an exact copy would infringe copyright, then posting a re-typeset copy would also. If the publisher owns the copyright, then you need their permission to upload anything that contains any significant amount of the paper's content (barring fair use exceptions, etc).

Some copyright agreements contain terms saying that they only cover the journal's typeset version, giving the author permission to self-archive their own version. But if yours said that, you would know.

For a more certain answer, consult an intellectual property lawyer in your jurisdiction.

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    In some jurisdictions (Germany I think, hopefully France soon), if your research is funded by public money, it may be legal to upload your work to a repository even if you signed a copyright transfer agreement which prohibits it. So acceptable law should be also taken into account to determine whether the publisher's copyright agreement is applicable or not. – a3nm Jul 14 '16 at 20:22
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    No, the typesetting isn't necessarily irrelevant. Many journals allow preprints to be posted online, but not the final PDF produced by the journal. – semi-extrinsic Jul 14 '16 at 22:38
  • @semi-extrinsic: Right, that was the point of my second paragraph. I've tried to clarify. – Nate Eldredge Jul 15 '16 at 2:30
  • @a3nm: Could you provide a pointer to relevant German laws, please? I'm asking because my own impression (as a possibly ill-informed German) is that in Germany, fees are usually charged for all kinds of resources created with public money. (Having free access to such resources (comparable to, say, the U.S. Freedom of Information Act) is not exactly the same as having the right to upload such resources to public repositories, but certainly related.) – O. R. Mapper Jul 17 '16 at 9:50
  • @O.R.Mapper: I think it's this gesetze-im-internet.de/urhg/__38.html but my German is very rusty so I can't promise that this is applicable or that it says what I think it says. – a3nm Jul 17 '16 at 13:49

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