From ArXiv, we know about the following possibilities for a license:

You may elect to make the Work available under one of the following licenses that you shall select at the time of submission:

(1) Creative Commons Attribution license (CC BY 4.0)

(2) Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike license (CC BY-SA 4.0)

(3) Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-ShareAlike license (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0)

(4) Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives license (CC BY-NC-ND 4.0)

(5) arXiv license

(6) Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication (CC0 1.0)

(7) If you wish to use a different CC license, select arXiv’s non-exclusive license to distribute in the arXiv submission process and indicate the desired Creative Commons license in the actual article.

From one of the npj Series journals, npj Complexity, we can read:

Authors may choose any license of their choice for the preprint including Creative Commons licenses. The type of CC-license chosen will affect how the preprint may be shared and reused. More information to help guide licensing choices can be found in these resource documents developed by an ASAPbio licensing taskforce.

I am now confused about "The type of CC-license chosen will affect how the preprint may be shared and reused". Based on the license chosen, will there be any issue with the journal, once/if the paper will be accepted?

  • 2
    A journal sets its own rules. Some are permissive, others restrictive. Some don't publish anything that has appeared in any form, including preprints. Ask the journal what they require or permit.
    – Buffy
    Mar 18 at 14:57
  • Thanks for your comment @Buffy !
    – Ommo
    Mar 22 at 7:34

1 Answer 1


This is simply a true statement about CC licenses.

I don't think they're saying anything about the journal policy about preprints in the part of the statement you are questioning, I think they're just restating the purpose and importance of choosing a license.

Probably they've had authors ask them "Does it matter which CC-license I pick?" and added this statement to try to deflect those questions, which are not really appropriate questions to ask the journal anyways (it's not the journal's job to instruct authors about licensing except for their own).

The type of CC-license chosen will affect how the preprint may be shared and reused

is simply a true statement about the nature of different CC licenses. For example, a preprint released under BY-SA license requires that shared/reused material from the preprint must also be licensed BY-SA or similar (hence the "ShareAlike"). A preprint released under the BY-NC license can't be reused commercially. And so on.

  • Thanks a lot @BryanKrause! :-)
    – Ommo
    Mar 22 at 7:34

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