So a while back, I got in a scrap with Wiley over their breach of my rights as peer reviewer for one of their journals. Essentially, what it boiled down to was a failure to communicate what referees were agreeing to upon acceptance of a peer review, and as a result breaching their personal rights by enforcing certain things without permission or authority to do so (i.e., what we can or cannot do with our referee reports).
The result of this was a discussion with the Editor and the authors, and as a matter of courtesy I did not publish the report online as not all the authors agreed to do so. However, this was a complex decision process and discussion, which should not really have taken place, as things should have been laid out much more clearly prior to any acceptance to review.
Now, I’ve hit the same issue after reviewing for a journal published by Elsevier. Except I’ve been a bit cheeky following the Wiley incident, which has led now to me sending this email just now to the Editor of the journal in question:
Dear XXXX,I’m just getting in touch about an issue I’m having with this paper that I peer reviewed for you now that it has been published.I have a Publons account, in order to document my activities as a peer reviewer. I uploaded details of this paper to Publons. However, when I tried to publish the content of the review, as is fully allowed as the rights-holder to that work, I received the following information:
“The publisher requires that you obtain permission from this journal before you sign your name to this review. Please contact your editor.
The publisher requires that you obtain permission from this journal before you publish this review. Please contact your editor.”I was unaware that by agreeing to review, Elsevier automatically invoked some sort of rights about what I can or cannot do with my review, and without my permission, awareness, or acknowledgement. Can you confirm that this is the case? I believe that this is an error on behalf of the journal, as I don’t recall signing my rights away or agreeing that Elsevier could invoke this sort of thing without my permission. I double checked all of our correspondence too (including some of which was automated), and didn’t receive any information of this sort. Nor can I find any relevant information on the journal or publisher website.I should also note that if the copyright transfer of my work was automatically implied due to some information on Elsevier’s website somewhere, then I will similarly invoke the information about my peer review activities on my personal website, with exactly the same authority as that by Elsevier:“Please note that I charge a flat fee of £10,000 for each peer review completed (subject to concessions), which publishers agree to upon my acceptance to review for any journal they publish.”If this is the case, could you please let me know who I should contact at Elsevier regarding the financial reimbursement. The alternative is that this is simply a mistake and that while Elsevier will have to be more explicit in the future about the rights of referees prior to acceptance of a review invitation, I retain full rights to re-use my work as I intend, which includes publishing the content of the review online. I should note that this confusion is in no way your fault as Editor in this case, and appears to be a higher-level policy issue.Kind regards,Jon