Early this year, IEEE has changed its policy with respect to making your publications available online. Now you are only allowed to put a (final) preprint on your personal web page (or your institution’s), mentioning the copyright and final referencing data. This holds for all papers published after January 1st, 2011. Before, you were also allowed to make the published paper itself available online.
While I do understand that this protects (some of the) additional work done by IEEE to make that final publication look nice, and thus should encourage people to subscribe, I am not happy with this measure. Maybe this is just aligning the IEEE policy with what most publishers do already, but still.
Why do I prefer the published one? First of all, this makes sure only a single version of a paper circulates on the web. I personally find it very annoying to see a paper, start reading it because it looks different from what you’ve seen before, and notice that it is actually the same, but in different typesetting. Even more so if the two would have differences. The final published one would be the most correct one, I assume. Secondly, it also increases the chances that a paper is cited correctly. Because, let’s face it, not everyone will nicely add the “full citation to the original IEEE publication and a link to the article in the IEEE Xplore digital library“.
Correctly citing a paper may become even more difficult…