Journals changing publisher, but can the rights change as well?

Journal cover Animal ConservationFrom a perspective as a repository manager I do like the Cambridge University Press journals a lot. Albeit no immediate OA, after a year the author is allowed to post the publisher’s version/PDF of his article in an institutional repository. We adhere to this policy on behalf of our authors. So we post all the publications in Cambridge journal articles to our repository after this 12 month embargo period. Sounds simple and it actually is that simple.

Recently I ran a check on this policy using the DOI’s, rather than the ISSN’s we normally use, on the metadata we collect of all our researcher’s publications. The DOI string of Cambridge journal articles all start with the prefix 10.1017. I came across an article published in the journal Animal Conservation from 2004 which was not OA on our repository. Further checking this article I found out that the DOI of the article resolved to the Wiley Online library, where the article came online only in 2006, instead of the Cambridge website. Rather odd. Checking the copyright and archiving policy of this journal at the Sherpa Romeo site, they referred to the rather limited Wiley copyrights and self archiving possibilities for this journal. Sherpa Romeo implies that this is applicable for all content of this journal. I was rather disappointed.

However, that Cambridge DOI bothered me, so I checked the Cambridge site for the journal and could find the article there as well. The DOI however, resolves to the Wiley online journals site. Clearly the journal changed from publisher, that happens all the time. But on changing from publisher it appears that the authors’ copyrights changed as well. Especially since the Wiley site also hosts the complete backfile going back to Volume 1, issue 1. That the authors self archiving rights changed on change of publisher for the journal can’t be the case because they’re based on the original publishing agreement, but the Wiley site and Sherpa Romeo do imply that the Wiley copyright and self archiving policies apply to all content of the journal. That can’t be true, can it? But here I have an article hosted at two publishers websites with two very different self archiving policies.

Of course we adhere to the Cambridge self archiving policy for this article. There is therefore now a third copy copy of this article available on the Web, proudly presented in Wageningen Yield.

These are strange ways of publishers and copyrights.