Thinkings, doings, projects underway ...

Why is Amazon selling my academic article online?

I ask this question because I came across an article I co-authored for sale on The article is freely available in the public domain on the publisher AARL's website, so how is it that Amazon is selling it?

Kittelson P, Jones S. Touring by design: using information architecture to create a virtual library tour. Australian Academic & Research Libraries [Internet]. 2002 25 09 2012; 33(1). Available from:

Here’s the Amazon record.

As you can see, it clearly says “ships from and sold by” - I certainly never authorised this and I doubt by colleague would have either, and when I contacted the copyright officer of the Australian Library Association (publishers of AARL) they were surprised too. They are currently investigating this.

Now while the amount Amazon appear to be charging for this article is $5.95USD, I wondered how many other AARL articles were for sale on Amazon. After a quick search, I discovered that there are 12, including mine. They appear to be from Those published before 2007 are $5.95USD, and those published from 2007 are pulling $9.95USD. How many other people is this happening to?

So I did a quick search and found this article from the Times Higher Education, entitled Research for sale: $5.95. It’s dated 17 November 2006 - and apparently what Amazon are doing is legal. 

I checked the AARL licence agreement and it appears that I retain my moral rights and copyright, “Copyright remains with you: any requests regarding copyright will be forwarded to you at the most recent address the editor has on file.” Because this is a non exclusive licence it allows ALIA the right to “publish your article in various formats or media, license it to third parties such as database aggregators, and collect any fees earned by such uses”.

I think it is this on licening to a database agregator that has enabled Amazon to on sell the article (see reference to ProQuest in the Times article above).

So, the moral of the story is, be aware of what you sign. But even then, can you ever really be sure of what will happen to your work?


Addendum - I don’t know if this “review” of my article will be published, but here’s my attempt to let people know it’s actually freely available elsewhere.

  1. thepinakes said: Interesting.
  2. sarahlibrarina posted this