Steve Oberg on the Family Man Librarian blog writes about Elsevier's Response to Depositing Articles in E-LIS. Basically, Elsevier allows authors to deposit peer-reviewed postprints on personal web servers, but not subject repositories.
Peter Suber on Open Access News comments:
"Publishers that insist on this distinction either do not grasp the implications of OAI interoperability or want to place special burdens on authors without IRs or without institutional affiliation".
Peter's first point is that this policy is just a little silly - an open access postprint in an institutional repository is every bit as accessible as one in a subject repository.
One thought for Elsevier and other publishers: if limits are desired, perhaps limit deposit to open access archives, whether institutional or subject. This would eliminate the possibility of re-sale, which may be what is intended. (Note - I'm not sure I've completely thought this one through; comments on this idea would be appreciated).
Peter is right that this does cause inequity for authors. For example, here in British Columbia, the only fully operational institutional repository is at Simon Fraser University Library. Within the next few years, all the large university libraries will likely have open access IRs. This still leaves great inequity - librarians at colleges, public or special libraries are not likely to have access to an IR for some time.
Here is my advice for authors like Steve until this policy is remedied: before submitting your paper, consider whether the journal is OA-friendly. Check the DOAJ list of OA LIS journals - 57 journals as of March 17, 2006 - or, keep up with OA Librarian for announcements of new OA journals like Evidence Based Library and Information Practice, and consult the Sherpa Romeo list for library journals - look for the green journals that allow for self-archiving of both preprint and postprint.
This post reflects my personal opinion only and does not represent the opinions or policy of the BC Electronic Library Network or the Simon Fraser University Library.