Do the Royal Society of Chemistry and Wiley care about my moral rights?

In a previous post I asked Did I write this paper??? because I had come across something like this:


(click to enlarge). Take a long hard look and tell me what is the journal, and who is the publisher. Note also that it costs 30 USD to look at it.
Now I (and others) wrote that paper. When we submitted it I was proud to publish it with the Royal Society fo Chemistry. I cite it as:
Org. Biomol. Chem., 2004, 2, 3067 – 3070, DOI: 10.1039/B411699M

Experimental data checker: better information for organic chemists

S. E. Adams, J. M. Goodman, R. J. Kidd, A. D. McNaught, P. Murray-Rust, F. R. Norton, J. A. Townsend and C. A. Waudby
and you can still find it posted at:
However when I visit the RSC page – on the RSC site – at:
I find:
Since this is on the RSC’s own site and it says it’s not an RSC journal article it’s clearly deliberate, not a mistake. The RSC seems to have transferred the rights of the paper to Wiley, who are reselling it under the name Cheminform. Or maybe both are selling it. Or maybe the RSC don’t know what Wiley are doing. (The best I can see is that Wiley appear to be passing off my/our paper under their name. As far as I can see they are only selling the abstract and even then it;s the wrong one – but maybe they are also selling the full text if they were competent to get the web site right. And they are asking 30 USD.)
I care very deeply about this. I used to be proud to publish in the journals of the Chemical Society (now the RSC). Can I still be proud? they have disowned my article as not one of theirs. Someone reading the Wiley page would naturally assume that I had published in a Wiley Journal and not with the RSC. We’ve worked closely with the RSC – many of the ideas for Project Prospect came from our group.
A major justification for Transfer of Copyright to publishers, whether or not you believe it, is that it allows the publisher to defend the integrity of the work against copyright infringement by others. I contend that what I have depicted here is a gross violation of someone’s copyright. Probably not mine since I gave it away.
Cockup or conspiracy – I don’t know. But I certainly feel my rights have been violated.

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3 Responses to Do the Royal Society of Chemistry and Wiley care about my moral rights?

  1. jat45 says:

    I have just tried to retrieve the paper from the OBC site.. from the homepage by selecting the appropriate year and journal issue and it is still there as an RSC article. Access to the pdf is free (though only subscribers may use the html).

  2. pm286 says:

    (1) Thanks Joe. Yes, I know it’s still there, but who has the rights?
    The Transfer of Copyright says:
    “Before we can publish a research paper or communication in an RSC journal, we require the Author to complete a Licence to Publish. In signing this licence the Author (who is either the Copyright Owner or who is authorised to sign on behalf of the Copyright Owner, eg his/her employer) grants to the RSC “the exclusive right and licence throughout the world to edit, adapt, translate, reproduce and publish the Paper … in all formats, in all media and by all means (whether now existing or in future devised)”. The RSC thus acquires all practical rights to the paper, save, however, copyright. Copyright of the paper remains with the Copyright Owner. Even though the RSC has an exclusive right to publish, the RSC allows the Copyright Owner to retain several practical rights to the paper (all specified in the Licence to Publish), in addition to the copyright. For example, we allow the Copyright Owner to reuse material from his/her paper (in some cases the entire paper), provided that a suitable acknowledgement is given. Any republication must be accompanied by an acknowledgement in the form specified in the Licence to Publish (this will depend on the journal).
    The authors granted the RSC an EXCLUSIVE right. They did NOT:
    * grant a third party to appropriate the ARTICLE (note that Wiley use the word “ARTICLE”, not ABSTRACT
    * to add the third party’s copyright to pass it off as theirs
    * to put the article into another completely different journal
    * to do all this without contacting the author.
    * to disown the provenance of the original publisher
    Either the RSC knows this is happening, it which case it is dishonouring the copyright we transferred to them, or it doesn’t know in which case it has failed to protect our rights.
    And Wiley is presumably knowingly breaching copyright whatever agreement there is between the two publishers. The copyright remains with us (or so we were led to believe). Publishers – including both the ones involved – are quick to pursue readers and users when they think their interests are being transgressed but don’t care about the authors.

  3. Richard says:

    I would have preferred to have been given a chance to address this before a forest of straw men had been erected, but as a co-author on this paper, let me explain what’s happened – no cock-up, no conspiracy, no transfer of rights, no disowning, no gross violations…
    The article in question was of course published in the RSC’s OBC journal, and RSC have the Licence to Publish the article in that form. You’re rightly very concerned about accuracy in this issue from other posts so it’s an important distinction to make that with RSC “Copyright of the paper remains with the Copyright Owner” – copyright transfer doesn’t take place as you suggest elsewhere in the post and I want to make this clear. It also remains an OBC paper – there’s no basis for suggesting we’ve disowned it – and is free to view under our policy.
    Cheminform is an abstracting journal from Wiley, and the disputed entry is to the abstract of the OBC article. I would personally prefer that this fact was clearer on the Wiley-Interscience abstract page, but abstracting of articles across publishers has been a historic aid to information dissemination – no separate agreement exists or rights transfer has taken place. Wiley has given the abstract a DOI, and this is how it comes up in our ‘Cited by’ lists – generated automatically from CrossRef deposits. This is what happens in life as you know – we build a great system for online article identification and automated interlinking, then an unforseen problem comes up and we’ll have to work out how to address it.
    Of course RSC hasn’t disowned your/our article, and please still be proud to publish in RSC journals – we’re a society publisher, the authors retain copyright, the articles are free to view after two clear years, and we’re publishing InChIs along with the other Project Prospect developments.
    But please don’t accuse us of bad faith without at least picking up the phone next time.

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