you’re for sale, and you don’t know it

my wonderful colleague Richard Pitt passed along the following news to me:

“Greetings All,

I was contacted by the Chronicle of Higher Education as a source for a story on “All Academic Inc”.  In that conversation, I discovered some pretty disturbing news. If you click on this link, you will discover that your ASA conference papers are being offered for sale at $7 a pop, probably without your knowledge or consent. Given that any paper I submit to ASA is usually in draft “do-not-cite” form and I haven’t relinquished copyright on it to them just by submitting it, I have to admit that I’m pretty peeved that ASA might then be turning these papers over to this corporation for “archiving” only to have them turn around and make a profit off of my work.  All of your ASA papers submitted from the 2003 conference to this year’s are available for purchase.  I just wanted to alert you all to this situation. Not sure how/where to take this any further than this.”

I have to say, I’m sure the price should be quality-sensitive.  I’m also a little unclear on the market for these things.  Who will choose to pay $7 instead of writing an email request to the author/s?  And is this legal?  Any and all informed, uninformed, snarky, sarcastic replies are invited.

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6 Comments

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6 responses to “you’re for sale, and you don’t know it

  1. Interestingly, I just had an email exchange with a nonsociologist that very badly wanted one of these papers. For some reason, he thought I got them for free, and was trying to get me to download it for him. Well, it wasn’t free. I told him to just email the author, but he didn’t feel like he could (I guess because he’s a nonsociologist). I’m not sure if he decided to buy it or not, in the end. So, I’m thinking maybe younger students and those outside of sociology might actually use this service.

    Besides, $7 for the crap I write? I’m honored.

  2. mom

    I’m with you JL, I don’t like this at all. I absolutely consider the work I submit to be in draft form (sometimes very early draft) and think that we should at least have the option to decline inclusion in the ‘archive.”

  3. Kieran

    This came up on Crooked Timber in the case of political science a while ago. It’s something the ASA needs to deal with, I think.

  4. I hate to admit this, but I succumbed late one night and bought a conference paper through All Academic because I felt I needed to read it *that moment* to see what it was about and “couldn’t wait” for a response from the author (research as impulse shopping). However, after reading it I realized that it was an unpolished piece – though not out of line for what one would present at a conference – that wasn’t available through the author’s web site, probably for that reason; I decided not to request citation permission from him. The All Academic site tells you how to ‘cite this article,’ giving you both MLA and APA styles, etc., but that implies the author gave permission, and that’s I think quite misleading.

  5. I should clarify: I decided not to use the paper, not I decided to use the paper without asking for permission to do so.

  6. Jenn Lena

    @Kieran: Thanks for the direction. I wonder if a similar path to resolution can be accomplished through the ASA leadership.

    Btw, gentle readers…here’s the advice on taking individual action:
    “Yesterday I sent an email to AllAcademic Inc stating that the conference papers of mine that they were selling on their website had since been published as journal articles and I claimed that they were therefore in violation of copyright held by the journals and so they should remove my papers immediately. I got an email back today informing me that my papers are no longer available for download from their site, but the abstracts remain available. Just thought others might like to know this strategy was effective.” Posted by Jonathan Quong · March 8th, 2007 at 5:31 pm

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