Ten simple ways to share PDFs of your papers #PDFtribute

There is a spreading surge of PDF sharing going on in relation to a tribute to Aaron Swartz who died a few days ago.  For more on Aaron and tributes to him see the collection I am making here: The Tree of Life: RIP: Aaron Swartz.  For more on the PDF sharing see this CNET story for example: Researchers honor Swartz’s memory with PDF protest and http://pdftribute.net.

I should say, sharing your PDFs is not necessarily clearly not enough (the license on the PDF may affect what people can do with them if they feel constrained to follow the law).  It is also critical to think about the level of openness of a paper, but I will save most of the comments on that for another time. What I wanted to do here is point out various ways to share PDFs for people who don’t know how …

UPDATE 1/14: See follow up post 10 things you can do to REALLY support #OpenAccess #PDFTribute

Ten simple ways to share PDFs of your papers.

1. Publish your paper in a fully #openaccess journal (so called GOLD OpenAccess).

Such journals immediately post your paper online for all to see and frequently also post your paper in various formats to repositories like Pubmed Central.  For a list of such journals see the “Directory of Open Access Journals“.  In my opinion, this is the best, and, well, really only viable long term option.  This is what I do for papers from my lab.

2. Publish your paper in a non #openaccess journal that has the option of selecting / paying for #openaccess on a case by case basis. 

Many journals that are not fully #openaccess have the option of paying extra to have your paper be published in an #openaccess manner and then the journal handles not only posting the paper on their site but also frequently depositing in a repository of their or your choosing.  UPDATE: Note – in many cases the licenses used by journals for such one-off “open” publishing are not fully open, despite what some of the journals claim so proceed with caution (see PLOS Biology: Why Full Open Access Matters for example).

3. Publish in a non #openaccess journal that releases papers to a repository after a delay.

Many journals put papers behind a paywall initially but then “free”them up in some way after a set period of delay.  For example a large number in biomedicine will deposit papers to Pubmed Central and also make them freely available on their website after 6 months.  Frequently as with #2 above, the licenses associated with such release of papers are not fully open, but this is a way to have your papers be at least accessible to others after a period of time.

4. Deposit your paper in a preprint server before you submit it for publication.  

For more on preprint servers see

Examples of commonly used preprint servers include

5. Self-archive your PDF in a repository (so called GREEEN OpenAccess).

Various repositories out there exist for posting ones papers.  They work in essence like a preprint server though some people use them more for posting papers after they have been published so I am listing them separately here.  More detail on self-archiving can be found here.  A good source of information about repositories is the Registry of Open Access repositories.  Also the Directory of Open Access repositories.  Another good source is SPARC. Also see here.

One repository commonly used in biomedicine in Pubmed Central.  Alas one is only allowed to post papers there by oneself if the work in the paper was funded by an NIH grant.

Another approach is to use arXiv as a repository where you can post things even after they are published.

Another growing venue for self-archiving is an institutional repository.  As many universities expand their commitment to open access or access university repositories are becoming a source of more and more publications.  Check to see if your institution has a repository and use it.

UPDATE: Note, just depositing your paper in a repository or preprint server does not necessarily mean your paper is open access.  Look in detail at the license and copyright policies of the archives you are considering before using them.

6. Self post your PDFs to a website you control.

If you do not have a personal website and/or do not know how to post a paper to your website, well, you should learn more about this.  A few simple ways to quickly post a PDF for others to get access to include

Create a new blog / website with a system that allows posting PDFs.  There are many many options for this.  One is Posterous.  Another is WordPress.Com.  There are certainly a million other ways.  Upload a PDF to Google Docs and then share the Google Doc link.  Post to Dropbox and share the link there.  Etc. etc. etc.  I ended up using WordPress.Com to create my lab page and to post all my PDFs.

7. Post your PDFs to an online reference collection.

Many systems now exist for collecting and collating and sharing reference collections online.  They include CiteULike, Zotero, and Mendeley.  I particularly like Mendeley right now in part because it makes it very easy to share PDFs privately or publicly.  I for example have posted all my own papers on Mendeley as well as papers of my father’s (for more on this see The Tree of Life: Freeing My Father’s Publications and Free Science, One Paper at a Time | Wired Science | Wired.com).

8. Create an academic profile page and post PDFs there.

Many systems now exist for creating a personal Academic profile of sorts.  One example is Academia.Edu. I have created a page here  Jonathan Eisen | University of California, Davis – Academia.edu although I confess I have not been updating it much.

9. Post to Slideshare.

Though many people end up only posting slideshows to Slideshare, and I use it for that purpose, I have posted many of my papers there as well. See for example:

10. Post to “Data” archives.

There is a large growing collection of places to post “Data” to share it with others.  Some of these sites also allow posting of papers.  For example, I have posted multiple papers to Figshare, a great data sharing site that can be used to post and share just about anything. I have also used Figshare for this (for example – here is my PhD thesis there).

11. Ask a Librarian. (Yes it goes to 11)

Probably the best way to figure out how to better share your PDFs if the options above don’t work for you (or even if they do) is to talk to a librarian.  They are the most knowledgable people in regard to methods and systems and other issues for sharing academic work.

Some related posts from The Tree of Life

Other ideas? Please post in comments …

Notes for talk by Mackenzie Smith – candidate for #UCDavis University Librarian position

Here are some notes I took using my iPAD for a talk by Mackenzie Smith about libraries: Note Feb 21, 2012
She is a candidate for the UC Davis University Librarian position for which I am on the committee.  This is the first time I have taken and posted notes from a talk using my iPAD – so please bear with me – it is an experiment of sorts. Note to do this I used an iPAD2, a Bamboo Stylus and the Notability App. I then exported to PDF and posted it (the Note above).  For the images below I then had to export single pages to JPGs.  If anyone knows an easy way to export a multipage PDF as a single JPG I would appreciate information … Inspiration provided by Kosta.

http://storify.com/phylogenomics/mackenzie-smith-talk-at-ucdavis.js?template=slideshow[<a href=”http://storify.com/phylogenomics/mackenzie-smith-talk-at-ucdavis” target=”_blank”>View the story “Mackenzie Smith talk at #UCDavis” on Storify</a>]

Searching for a "University Librarian" at UC Davis; plus request for reading material on modern library challenges and opportunities

Well, I have trouble saying no.  And thus I have a new committee role at UC Davis.  I am a member of the University Librarian Recruitment Advisory Committee at UC Davis tasked with coordinating interviews for, well, the University Librarian position which was just advertised (I have reposted the text of the ad below).

I am writing this post for two reasons.  First, I want to encourage qualified candidates to apply (and also encourage people to share the posting with qualified candidates).  Second, I am requesting help in gathering material for me (and others) to read about new developments in library activities, especially in a University setting.  Any good reviews of the challenges facing University libraries as well as any discussions of new opportunities for libraries would be greatly appreciated.

The Job Ad (taken from a PDF and converted to text/html by me)

The University of California, Davis, invites nominations and applications for the position of University Librarian. The campus seeks an innovative and effective leader to serve as its chief strategist and visionary in developing its next- generation library, combining the traditional strengths of a major research library with new information resources and technology programs that enhance its research, teaching and learning activities. The University Librarian provides overall leadership of the UC Davis General Library in support of University research, instruction, patient care, and community outreach and is responsible for transforming the General Library into an Academic Hub that promotes the effective and innovative use of digital information resources in discovery and learning for the future.

The University of California, Davis is a highly selective, research-intensive institution of approximately 32,000 students, including 7,500 graduate and professional students, an annual research budget that exceeds $600 million, a comprehensive health system and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools. UC Davis is one of the nation’s top public research universities and an integral part of the world’s pre-eminent public university system, the University of California. For more than 100 years, UC Davis has engaged in teaching, research, and public service that matters to California and transforms the world. The City of Davis, located in in the heart of the Central Valley, in an environmentally aware and socially innovative community of 65,000 people, is close to the state capital and San Francisco Bay area, and is a unique college town where close relationships between the campus and the local community are valued.

The General Library of the University of California, Davis, is a major U.S. academic research library, operating as an integral part of the University while recognizing obligations to a wider public, particularly the people of California. The University Librarian reports to the Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor and serves as a member of the Council of Deans and Vice Chancellors.
The colleges of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science; the schools of Education, Management, Medicine, Nursing, and Veterinary Medicine; and the UC Davis Health System are all served by the UC Davis General Library, both in Davis and in Sacramento. The Library houses comprehensive, world-class agricultural and veterinary medicine collections, especially in viticulture and enology, environmental sciences and ecology, and comparative medicine as well as broadly based humanities, social sciences, and sciences collections. The Special Collections feature a diverse range of topics from agricultural sciences, to Western Americana, to photographs of rural California and Oregon, and a rich University Archives showcasing the campus’s 100-year history. The UC Davis General Library is an active contributor to the highly successful University of California collective efforts of campus libraries and the California Digital Library, providing system-wide online services and access to a wealth of books and journals (~33 million titles), electronic journals (~34,400 titles), large digital image and special collections via Calisphere and the Online Archive of California, and over 422 million web sites in the Web Archiving Service.

Already highly ranked among U.S. public universities, UC Davis aspires to raise its profile even further and recognizes the Library as a key contributor to that achievement. The successful candidate will position the UC Davis Library as a leader among research university libraries and introduce new digital programs to enhance the university’s research and teaching activities.

Specific responsibilities of the position include

  • Strategic planning for and leadership in development of information resources and related programs and services, both print and digital, in collaboration with other organizations at Davis, across the UC system, and with relevant national and international organizations;
  • Development of advanced, innovative e-research and educational technology information and publishing services;
  • Oversight of library operations in support of the university’s strategic goals and current research and teaching activities;
  • Lead the development of Library digital services, including digital reformatting of existing collections, creation of unique and original digital resources in various formats, and development of web-based interfaces to these resources;
  • Leadership of a 120-plus member staff and responsibility for a budget of $24.7M, as well as philanthropic cultivation and stewardship;
  • Strategic planning, including long-range planning for service, staffing, automation, and physical facilities to meet the needs of the greatest number of users with an eye to the rapidly evolving patterns of users’ preferred modes of access;
  • Representing the library with the UC Davis administrative and academic departments and Davis in UC system- wide discussions, national and international research library and academic technology initiatives.

The University of California, Davis seeks outstanding candidates who have a deep understanding of the challenges and opportunities facing research university libraries, especially those involving new technologies for research and teaching; successful library management experience in a complex higher education setting; extensive experience conducting research on and implementing innovative library-based services in support of a major research university’s mission of teaching, research and public service; demonstrated knowledge of state-of-the-art information technologies and successful implementation of IT-based services; entrepreneurial experience and a record of success obtaining external funding through grants and resource development; strong analytical, interpersonal, oral and written communication, and collaboration skills; commitment to and record of promoting diversity and equal opportunity in the workplace; and the ability to be an effective spokesperson for the UC Davis General Library and a fully contributing member of the UC Davis senior leadership team. A Master of Science in Library and Information Science or other advanced degree is required.

Initial screening of applications will begin immediately and continue until an appointment is made; however, to receive full consideration, applications must be submitted by no later than November 11, 2011. Nominations (including the nominee’s contact information and materials) should be provided to Linda Fairfield at the following address by November 11, 2011:

          Linda Fairfield
          Senior Management Group Administrator
          Human Resources Administration Building
          Phone: 530-752-3954

Application materials should include a letter addressing how the candidate’s experiences match the position requirements, a resume and contact information for at least five references. Submission of materials as PDF attachments is strongly encouraged.

For more information about University of California, Davis, please visit the Web site at