Preamble: We academics publish papers so they can be read. We want anyone in the world to be able to read our papers. We do not expect any money in exchange. Here is what we can all do to facilitate this, not just for our papers but for everyone's papers.
- Whenever you publish a paper in a conference or journal, post it on your website AND on some appropriate archive. You would think this is standard practice by now, but alas, it is not.
- If you give a talk on a paper then post the slides and if possible a video of the talk, along with the paper, on your website. On the archives perhaps post a link to the slides and video.
- If you have old papers that are not available on line (it is common go to a website and see only papers past, say, 1995, are online) then get them scanned in (some schools do this for you) and put them on your website. Do not be humble. That is, do not think Nobody cares about that old paper. Somebody might.
- If you goto a website and it has a link to a paper, but the link does not work, then email the website owner. Do not be shy. I have done this with some of the best people in our field and they have been grateful.
- When you write a paper make sure that all of the bibliography entries include links to where you can get to the paper for free. If there is no such place, and you can access the paper yourself for free, then download it, put it in a file in your own directory, and have your bibliography point there.
- If you gather up papers in an area for your own use, then you may want to make a website out of them. I have done this with the Erdos Distance Problem, Private Information Retrieval, Constructive lower bounds on Ramsey Numbers, Applications of Ramsey Theory, and of course VDW Theorem stuff. (I understand that it can be a pain in the neck to maintain such sites.)
- If you get a contract to write a book make sure they allow you to post it free online. Blown to Bits, by Abelson, Ledeen, and Lewis is available this way. So is A=B by Petkovsek, Wilf, and Zeilberger. (I understand that if you are writing an undergrad textbook and expect to make real money on it then you may not want to do this.)