Ever heard of AllAcademic Inc.? This company describes itself as “an application service provider specializing in online solutions for abstract submissions, session submissions and conference management for annual meetings, conventions, and other types of events”. They are selling a range of papers that have been presented at previous APSA conferences (and annual meetings by many other academic associations). For example, there are papers for sale written by Jonathan Quong on luck multiculturalism, David Wasserman on disabilities and the capability approach, Simon Caney on the global basic structure, Richard Arneson on sufficientarian conceptions of justice, John Christman on cultural recognition, and two papers by Henry, one on E-commerce, and one on regulatory trajectories in the information age. There are also two by myself, one on the gendered division of labour, and one on Rawls and Sen. Most papers were presented a couple of years ago. They are for sale for USD 7 per piece. So, should we be happy with this commercial service?
I’m annoyed for three reasons. First, I don’t like commercial organisations to make money out of other people’s efforts without their consent. I cannot recall that I ever gave this company permission to sell my work. So I sent them two e-mails around early and mid January, inquiring whether they had the legal permission to sell my stuff, and if so, whether they could tell me when and how I gave them permission, and if not, whether they could take the papers off their website. Response: rien du tout, nada, helemaal niets.
Second, I am a little annoyed with APSA, since it seems obvious that they are part of the deal; APSA obliges its annual meeting-participants to submit their papers prior to the meeting, as a condition of participation. So I wrote to APSA twice too, asking them for clarification, and politely expressing my discontent with this way of selling my work. Response: nothing.
The final reason why I don’t like this company selling my work is that these are draft papers, and there are good reasons why some authors do not want to have their old drafts circulated until eternity (AllAcademic labels these papers as peer-reviewed, but that’s of course not true; at best the abstracts were selected, but the papers have simply been uploaded on the APSA site).
I’m all in favour of scholars sharing their unpublished work, and I am even of the opinion that all scholars should have their own website, with their publication list and, if they like so, information on unpublished work; but I don’t consider it a service that some company is selling my papers – and certainly not if they continue to do so after I’ve expressed my discontent.