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European International Journal of Science and Humanities (EIJSH) published my article about 2 years ago. The publication was online. The problem is that I haven't been able to access the EIJSH website for about 1 year.

The study was cited once or twice when EIJSH still existed. I feel really desperate.

Can you give me any advice about how I should act? It is a solid article - can I send it again to a better journal? Or would this be unethical? Do I have any other options?

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    Do you have the copyright agreement you signed two years ago? – FuzzyLeapfrog Jan 31 '17 at 23:34
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    Also, obvious tip: In the future, try to avoid submitting articles to this type of journals. – Ander Biguri Feb 1 '17 at 9:06
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    These publishers are normally Open Access, aren't they? So you should be able to post your article on your website or some academic social network. – Vladimir F Feb 1 '17 at 12:27
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    I don't know an answer for this question. But in the mean time, you can still put your papers in your homepage. I'm doing so with my papers, whose copyrights belong to ACM and IEEE. They do not care. – qsp Feb 2 '17 at 0:54
  • If you provide your article details we might check whether it has been indexed and quoted in Google Scholar. This could ensure its record is maintained permanently. – Joe_74 Feb 2 '17 at 13:25
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This is a very important question, as even non-predatory publishers can have problems and face difficult times, eventually closing altogether (e.g. Heart Lung and Vessels).

As stated in the comment by FuzzyLeapfrog, it is very important to double check what you actually agreed upon by submitting your manuscript and when signing the copyright agreement (take notice that sometimes journals do not require you to sign anything but you actually accept their copyright conditions just by submitting your manuscript).

In addition, I would check whether the publisher is still viable, irrespective of the dead website, or not. I would also consider writing to the publisher to inquire on the best course of action.

If the copyright issue is solved, I would definitely consider posting your article in pdf on an open online repository. If no suitable reply has been obtained, you might still upload your article online, in good faith, remaining ready to remove it promptly if requested so by the actual copyright holder. ResearchGate also offers a good means to make selectively available the full texts of your publications.

Conversely, I believe it would no longer be possible to consider publishing it elsewhere in a standard journal (you might tentatively ask a journal of choice if they would be interested, but it is going to be a difficult sell unless your manuscript is really a stellar one...).

As a last resort, you could write a review or perspective on the topic, detailing your prior work with figures and tables (either the actual ones or slightly modified). This will ensure your findings remain always accessible in the mainstream scholarly literature.

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    Note that if you are in the U.S., a signed document is required to transfer copyright. Now while it is debatable what constitutes a "signed document" (in particular, recent decisions validate the horrendous concept of website TOS being sufficient to effect a transfer of copyright), it is clear that merely submitting a manuscript, without more, cannot qualify as assent to a copyright transfer. – DepressedDaniel Feb 1 '17 at 18:45
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    What makes the paper so tained that other journals would be so opposed to publishing it? – Ovi Feb 2 '17 at 4:01
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    @Ovi Journals are not keen to publish "old stuff", plus it's unsure if the old journal won't come back at them. – Karl Feb 2 '17 at 4:31
  • @DepressedDaniel I beg to disagree... I have recently published a manuscript on the Journal of the American College of Cardiology and only an online html form had to be filled to transfer copyright. – Joe_74 Feb 2 '17 at 9:03
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    @Joe_74 So then what is your reason for saying that the author would have a hard time publishing it in another journal? Is it just because "they are not keen to publish old stuff" like Karl said? – Ovi Feb 2 '17 at 13:52
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Is the article really gone, online? Have you checked if the doi works? Maybe some other publisher has taken over.

If the journal really went under, this becomes a legal question. If they stop making your article available, does that mean they loose the online copyright on it? They probably do, but it'll depend on your local legislation.

I'd say you'll have to reformat the article (whoever owns the journal now still has a right to the layout), put a note in it ("originally published in EIJSH, year, number, pages"), and then put it on your website. That's what I would do, because the legal risks seem very low. Nobody loses money if you reclaim the copyright this way, so sueing you would be a fruitless job. Even is someone wanted to, he won't find a lawyer for it. ;-)

Perhaps ask other authors from the same journal what they plan to do. I guess you know a number of them anyway.

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I am not really sure if I am answering your question, but if you want to get "access" to the page, you could try https://archive.org/web/ if you have the old URL. That way you could see the article. Not guaranteed though.

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    The web page is archived at web.archive.org/web/20151210223807/http://www.eijsh.org but the snapshot apparently doesn't include the PDFs of the articles themselves. – Nate Eldredge Feb 1 '17 at 18:38
  • The question doesn't specify if its a PDF or File in general, so i assumed they question is about an "article". but you are right, it is not caching files. – Jim Feb 7 '17 at 11:36
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Understand there is no contract unless both parties exist. Even if you signed a copyright agreement, unless they are a functioning company it is void. It is also void if the contract includes consideration.

I would tell you that most countries would consider consideration to be that they got copyright for displaying your articles via online or paper journal. If they aren't meeting their end of the consideration then the contract is also void.

What this means is you try to reach them - phone, email, and letter. They don't respond. You did your due diligence. Then you must convince another journal to republish your article - which may be the harder task.

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    I suppose most journals won't accept an article that has been already published, regardless of its copyright status. It s a policy, "we only publish original research". – Federico Poloni Feb 1 '17 at 18:53
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    You probably don't want to re-publish an article that has already been cited. Administrations still care about stupid things like h-index etc. – Karl Feb 2 '17 at 4:25
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    I don't think the part about copyright transfers is correct, at least in the U.S. It's possible to have an "orphan work" where the copyright holder cannot be identified or contacted. Even if the publisher is no longer operating at all, someone may still own the copyright, and it can be hard to figure out who. (It may belong to the previous owner of the company, or to that person's heirs if they have since died. If the company went bankrupt, the copyright may be among the assets that were sold. Basically, there's no way of knowing without a really thorough investigation.) – Anonymous Mathematician Feb 2 '17 at 5:20

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