“Instant Open Archiving” Frequently Asked Questions

ioaHere are Frequently Asked Questions for Editorial teams interested in Instant Open Archiving:

1. What is a Pre-print? What is a Post-print?

For a review of these terms, see this helpful article in Scientific American, where the following descriptions are provided:

Pre-print – A pre-print is the original version of the manuscript as it is submitted to a journal. While the authors may have sought help from their colleagues in selecting data analysis techniques, improving manuscript clarity, and correcting grammar, the preprint has not been through a process of peer review. It typically looks like a term paper – a double spaced .doc file with minimal formatting.”

Post-print – A post-print is a document that has been through the peer review process and incorporated reviewers comments. It is the final version of the paper before it is sent off the the journal for publication. It may be missing a final copyedit (if the journal still does that) and won’t be formatted to look like the journal. It still looks like the double spaced .doc file. Sometimes, the term “pre-print” is used interchangeably with “post-print,” but when it comes to permissions issues, it is important to clarify which version of a manuscript is being discussed.”

Publishers version/PDF – This is the version of record that is published on the publishers website. It will look quite spiffy, having been professionally typeset by the publisher. Library databases will link to this version of the paper.”

2. Does My Publisher Permit Instant Open Archiving?

Each journal has a different policy regarding pre-prints and post-prints. Fortunately, these policies are tracked and archived here by Sherpa / Romeo.

Our review indicates that all journals allow preprints to be uploaded at any time. For most journals, post-prints (the text of final, accepted manuscripts) can be uploaded at any time to the author’s personal website. Some journals allow post-prints to be shared on public archives immediately, while others require an embargo period (e.g., or 1 or 2 years). Most journals allow preprints that are uploaded at the time of submission to be updated upon acceptance with all changes due to the review process.

3. What Instructions Can Editors Provide to Authors?

We recommend pasting the following text into the submission guidelines of the journal’s website (e.g., in the “Submission Checklist”):

“All submitted manuscripts must be archived on a publicly accessible preprint archive such as PsyArXiv prior to consideration for review. Please place a link to your archive in your cover letter and within the manuscript (e.g., on the title page). Note that archived files may be updated at any time to reflect changes that occur in the review process.”

For details, see this in-depth How-To guide.

4. How do Authors Archive a Paper? Is it Hard?

Archiving a paper on a site like Open Science Framework or PsyArXiv is fully automated. For example, on PsyArXiv.org, authors submit their file by clicking on “Add a preprint” and dragging and dropping their file into the PsyArXiv web interface and entering the authors’ names and information. Upon submission the author will be redirected to the webpage for their newly uploaded paper. This webpage is publicly accessible and the preprint can be downloaded from it by anyone. Also, so its URL can be copied and used for Step 2. Other online repositories, like ArXiv, RePEc, etc., use similar archiving procedures.

5. Is it possible to post anonymous preprints for the purpose of blind review?

There is currently no way to upload preprints anonymously for double-blinded review. However, it is possible to redact pre-prints and to un-redact them when the paper is accepted. For details, see our How-to Guide.

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