In the following licence to publish:

6.b) preprints (before referee) can be posted to electronic preprint servers

6.c) postprints (after referee) can be posted to subject repositories

Now I am wondering whether arxiv is an electronic preprint server (wiki says it is) a subject repository for math (wiki says it is) or neither or both.

As I could not find any useful distinction between these two terms online, it feels appropriate to ask the question here.

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    The terminology is obviously vague. You should probably ask the publisher what they intend. – Brian Borchers Jun 15 '18 at 13:47
  • I consulted with the publisher. They told me that both the pre and post prints could be posted to arxiv. – Jeremy Lane Jun 20 '18 at 13:50
  • So in this case, the answer to my question is that arxiv counts as both an electronic preprint server and a subject repository (in the eyes of this publisher). – Jeremy Lane Aug 14 '18 at 19:19

I do not know of any agreed-upon definition of these terms that would clearly distinguish one from the other.

It would be appropriate to ask the publisher to clarify. You may wish to ask specifically about the sites where you would like to upload your work.


Preprints are article versions that have not been peer reviewed by subject experts. This is a version before article has been submitted to a journal.

Postprint (author manuscript) is the article version accepted for publication. It is the version after journal submission that has undergone peer review (addressing comments from reviewers).

Final version includes all modifications, including the typesetting and is formatted according to the journal layout. It may be different from the postprint version.

Theoretically arXiv is primarily a preprint server. You should only post preprints to arXiv. Postprints should be posted in institutional or subject repositories, or on personal websites (if the copyright allows). However, there are many researchers who post a postprint to arXiv. this is not explicitely prohibited, as long as it does not violate copyright.

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    This does not actually seem to answer the question, which was about the definition (and the distinction between) electronic preprint servers and subject repositories. – Tobias Kildetoft Aug 14 '18 at 10:39
  • Subject repository will publish postprints or final versions, while preprint server will publish preprints. Some preprint servers seem to blur the line. If my comment was unclear I can amend it with this explanation. Would that be helpful? – Mariia Levchenko Aug 14 '18 at 10:40
  • The thing is, as seen in the other answer: There does not seem to be any agreed upon definition that can properly distinguish the two. – Tobias Kildetoft Aug 14 '18 at 10:42
  • I see your point, you are right, I was thinking of preprint repository as something that would publish preprints only, but apparently it is common practice to mix the two. – Mariia Levchenko Aug 14 '18 at 10:50

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