I'd like to put two preprints on OSF to make them available for everyone. One paper is already published, the other is in press. I've checked on SHERPA/RoMEO if the publisher allows preprint to be put on another server and everything seems to be ok. For example for the Journal "Nursing Ethics" it says "author can archive pre-print" and "author can archive post-print".

I then tried to upload the preprint to OSF, but I don't understand the option for licensing. I can either choose

- CCO 1.0 Universal
- No License
- CC-By Attribution 4.0 International

I've read the FAQs on licensing but I don't understand these options well enough and I'm wondering if the right choice depends on the publisher's copyright policy. So which one shall I choose?

  • CC-BY-SA-4 has a nice explanation. I like it. But the choice is yours, and I am not a lawyer. May 10, 2018 at 5:12
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    Welcome, Sophar! Perhaps you could tell us more about what you want/need in a license and this would be more possible to answer. (Academia SE tries to avoid "What should I do?" questions because they don't generalize well for other people who are later looking for answers.) Good luck! May 10, 2018 at 5:22
  • Thanks. My question is not about what I want, it's about what one has to do in this case. Does my choice of the right license on OSF depend on the publisher's copyright policy? I assume many people now the right answer, because they put their preprint on OSF and make the same choice.
    – sophar
    May 10, 2018 at 10:42
  • Can you explain what difference you see between one paper being "already published" and the other "in print"? To anyone interested in publishing, "in print" necessarily means "already published". More usefully, "ever printed, even if now out of print" necessarily means "already published". Can you re-phrase what you're hoping to clarify? Jan 12, 2021 at 0:22
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    @RobbieGoodwin The OP just probably confused in press with in print. Jan 12, 2021 at 7:29

1 Answer 1


In most cases, as long as you post your version of the paper (not the typeset version that your publisher agreement is likely owned by the published), then you choose the license that you want for your work.

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