In the last couple days, news has been spreading of Academia.edu receiving takedown notices from Elsevier and notifying users that it is automatically complying with requests from the publishing giant by removing content without the user’s authorization (see this story by Venturebeat).
This has certainly caused a lot of talk in academic circles about academic publishing rights, open access, chilling effects on sharing research, etc. I have additional news to contribute to this conversation that I have kept to myself until now, but is probably important for academics to know and, if necessary, take action on, to avoid similar problems. Elsevier has not limited itself to Academia. It’s looking elsewhere, including personal blogs. And I received a DMCA takedown notice from WordPress (who was contacted by Elsevier) on November 22. See a copy of the takedown here (with identifying information removed).
I take full responsibility for the takedown request. When we publish papers in journals, we sign contracts that designate what we can and cannot do with the content. I am a firm believer in sharing my research with the world, but I try to always share pre-press versions to be in line with these agreements. In this case (as the takedown notice was for a single paper), I accidentally uploaded the wrong version. I removed it immediately.
I encourage all my academic friends out there to review the content they have published online and make sure it complies with whatever publishing guidelines are specified for the given journal. While I believe in open access, openly defying a giant like Elsevier by publishing final versions of papers from their journals will get you nowhere. And it is clear that they are actively searching for people in violation of the terms of agreement for publishing.