Instant Open Archiving: A How-to Guide

Contributed By David Barner, Roger Levy, and Jesse Snedeker

ioaInstant Open Archiving: A How-to Guide

“Instant Open Archiving” (IOA) refers to the practice whereby Action Editors of peer reviewed journals require authors to archive preprints of manuscripts on a public digital archive such as PsyArXiv.org, ArXiv.org or RePEc.org at the time of submission. If this is done consistently, as part of journal submission policies, IOA will guarantee that all new science is openly and freely accessible to other scientists and to the public, without new fees, and with minimal requirements of Editors.

For a general description of Instant Open Archiving (IOA), we invite you to view this proposal and FAQ. This guide is intended to describe and explain how IOA works both from the perspective of Action Editors and Authors.

How to Implement IOA: An Editor’s Perspective

Implementing IOA involves two simple steps, both of which are consistent with the rules described by most publishers’ author’s publication agreement: Step 1: Add the requirement for IOA to the journal’s website; Step 2: Verify that authors comply. No other action is required.

Step 1. The Editorial Team should add language to their submission guidelines, describing the journal’s policy to require IOA.

Example language is provided below:

“I. Instant Open Archiving (IOA) submission requirement

All submitted manuscripts must be archived on a publicly accessible preprint archive such as PsyArXiv prior to consideration for review. To confirm that your manuscript has been archived, please include a link to your archive in your cover letter and within the manuscript (e.g., on the title page). Following the review process, archived manuscripts must be updated at PsyArXiv to reflect changes that arise due to the review process.”

Note that according to this policy, Editors would require authors to upload files once at the time of original submission (preprint copy) and also with any subsequent revisions (corrected copy). Alternatively, Editorial teams may opt to require only the preprint version, allowing authors the choice of whether to update the archived version. We recommend that archives be updated with each revision, such that final archived copies fully benefit from the review process.

Critically, this proposal is consistent with the existing rules set by for-profit publishers (for your Journal’s rules, see Sherpa/Romeo). All publication agreements we’ve examined allow preprints to be uploaded to non-commercial archives and made available immediately. While these agreements often prevent immediate archiving of postprints (the final revised version that is submitted to the journal for publication) or the Publisher’s Version (the typeset version that includes the Publisher’s logo), most nevertheless explicitly allow for preprints to be updated with the changes that occurred during the review process (with the result that the intellectual content of this final corrected version is identical to that of a postprint or Publisher’s Version). In other words, in order for archived manuscripts to benefit from peer review, they must first have a public presence as a preprint online. The upshot is that although the policy of publishers is complex, the proposed solution is simple: Upload preprints, update with revisions, and the intellectual content of the final archived copy will reflect that contained in the publisher’s version.

Note: Authors who are wary of publishing preprints (before manuscripts have benefitted from reviews) may choose to redact their archived preprints (e.g., using black highlighting in MS Word or Adobe Acrobat), leaving only their cover page to identify the manuscript, and establishing that the paper has been archived and therefore can be legally updated to the corrected version after reviews, without violating copyright restrictions. Action Editors should require that authors update the file at the end of the editorial process, or, to preclude the need for reminder emails and problems of enforcement, simply require that all revisions be un-redacted.

Step 2. Editors must ensure that authors comply with this requirement.

To ensure that authors comply to IOA, the Action Editor needs only to look at the manuscript’s cover letter (or title page) to verify that a link is included. Under the policy suggested above this would happen at the time of the original submission and when subsequent revisions are submitted.

Compliance could be monitored manually as with other requirements (e.g, APA formatting, etc.) requiring at most 5 or 10 seconds of new work (i.e., verifying the presence of a link on the cover page and, optionally, clicking it). We recommend, however, that the process be automated and removed from the Action Editor’s checklist, by adding a field for the link in the online submission portal of the journal’s website.

How to Comply to IOA: An Author’s Perspective

Submitting a paper in compliance with IOA involves three steps: Step 1: Upload the manuscript to the archive; Step 2: Document that you have done this in your submission; and Step 3: Repeat: Upload and document the subsequent (corrected) versions of the manuscript.

Step 1. When submitting a new manuscript, authors should upload a copy of their manuscript to an online digital archive such as PsyArXiv.

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.

Step 2. When authors submit a manuscript for review, they should paste the URL of their paper’s archive into their cover letter and onto the manuscript’s title page.

Step 3. Steps 1 and 2 should be repeated as each new revision is submitted.

Repeating this process with each revision of the manuscript guarantees that at the end of the review process the archived version will reflect the final corrected copy. On PsyArXiv, users can log in, visit the URL for the original preprint, select “Visit project”, select “Edit preprint” on the resulting webpage, and then upload the new revision.

Again, authors who are wary of publishing preprints (before reviews) may choose to redact their archived preprints (e.g., using black highlighting in MS Word or Adobe Acrobat), leaving only their cover page to identify the manuscript, and establishing that the paper has been archived and therefore can be legally updated to the corrected version after reviews, without violating copyright restrictions. These redactions can be removed in revisions (after a first round of reviews), or after when final accepted manuscript is uploaded.


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