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Preprints: The Basics: Self-Archiving Preprints

A guide on what preprints are and why they are beneficial.


What is self-archiving? 

Self-archiving is when an author posts a work of theirs online in order to ensure that it is freely available to those who might want to utilize it. Self-archived documents are placed on an author's or professional website or in an institutional or subject repository. Different journals and publishers have different policies on whether they allow authors to self-archive, and what versions of their research (such as preprints and accepted manuscripts) can be posted.

Where can I find policies on self-archiving?

sherpa/romeo logo

SHERPA/RoMEO is a database of journal and publisher self-archiving policies. As of May 2021, it had over 4,800 publishers listed.

transpose logo

Transpose is a database of journal policies on peer review, co-reviewing, and preprinting. As of May 2021, it had over 3,100 journals listed.


Sources: Cirasella J. You know what you write, but do you know your rights? Understanding and protecting your rights as an author [PowerPoint presentation]. CUNY Graduate Center. [updated 2015; cited 2021 Feb 5]. Available from:

Harnad S. The self-archiving initiative. Nature. 2001 Apr; 410(6832):1024-5. Available from: