I use private git repositories to manage the code I use for projects. After I publish a paper, I like to make the code available by making the repository public. My field is Geography/GIScience, and uploading code is typically not required for article submissions. I mostly refer friends/colleagues to this code and link the repositories from my website.

I also version control my manuscripts (typically an Emacs' .org file, .md, or a .tex file) within the same repository I use for the project. I find that its convenient to have the code and writing in the same repo since I code, write, and jot ideas simultaneously during a project.

Are there any potential negative consequences of exposing my writing in these repositories too? Would it be seen as unprofessional? Are licensing issues with this? Is it a bad idea to include things like reviewers' comments and responses to reviewers in here?

Is there a better approach for this? Would it be a good idea to use a submodule for writing that remains private even after I make the root repository public? I feel that this may be the way to go, but I also feel that submodules introduce some (unnecessary) complexity and I don't understand them well.

  • That's almost too open for my taste, but why not? Jun 28, 2018 at 19:24
  • it might be publisher-specific. You should consult them Jun 28, 2018 at 19:31
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    You definitely have to check the publisher guidelines. It's like depositing you peer-reviewed author's manuscript in a public repository. Jun 28, 2018 at 20:16
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    no one is going to care to spend time digging into the evolution of your manuscript . . . and it's very common (in my field) for authors to post PDFs of their finished manuscripts on their personal websites . . . so i don't see a problem with this . . . at the same time, it does seem like extra bulk to the repo that most people interested in your code won't need/want to look at . . . why not make a cleaned up version of the repo public, with just the things that users want?
    – abcd
    Jun 29, 2018 at 13:35

2 Answers 2


To add to @Nate Eldredge's answer, my usual work flow is to do everything on a private repo, and then when I publish, move the things I want public over to a separate public repo. Your publisher may or may not have a problem with the sources for the manuscript being part of that repo, as has been mentioned the policy is probably the same as that for achieving the authors accepted version. As public archiving of the author accepted manuscript is a requirement of nearly all my funders and of the government assessment of research output here, I'd never publish in a journal that didn't allow this. More than that, I'm not sure I'd want anything to do with a publisher that didn't allow some version of the manuscript to be public.


If you're like most people, you probably include comments in your tex files that may not be meant for public consumption: mistakes that you commented out, ideas for future projects that you don't want someone else to do before you, or general remarks that are a little too candid.

Some embarrassing examples are at https://twitter.com/overheardonaph, taken from tex source files submitted to arXiv.

  • Please tell me those tweets are real!
    – haff
    Jun 29, 2018 at 17:26
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    fwiw, i don't think any of those authors should be embarrassed about those examples . . . they seem like things every one of us has in drafts of our work . . . personally i don't see them as scandalous in any way . . . i don't see any reason to hide them out of shame . . .
    – abcd
    Jun 29, 2018 at 21:14

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