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I am considering submitting a working paper to the ArXIV archive and was wondering what the different licenses entailed, and whether choosing one might have some future ramifications.

Thank you!

  • Thanks for the edit. I think this is a very good question now, which should perhaps become our "canonical" question on arXiv licenses if it gets good answers. – Nate Eldredge Oct 3 '19 at 18:43
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I suggest you post to the ArXiv only after you have an idea of a group of journals to which you will be submitting. For example, narrowed to economics, or narrowed to physics. Then you can investigate a few journals and be sure you have a few places where you can submit after posting to the ArXiv, and with a certain licence.

If I am writing a pure math paper, I just post with what the ArXiv calls the minimal licence, which I have never read. I have never had any pure math journal even ask what licence I picked for the ArXiv. I hear the New England Journal of Medicine does not publish anything that was on the ArXiv. The PNAS states "the license selected for a preprint will affect the sharing, adaptation, and reuse of material" so for that level of publication some forethought is warranted.

Perhaps I have bad information and am spreading a rumor. The point is that nobody can advise you on a licence that will work for every academic journal in the world. You need to have that narrowed down. For some journals no option works. For many, many journals, it probably does not matter. If you have decided on a basic type of journal you can post here again with a much more specific question.

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