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I know that it depends on where I publish whether I am allowed to upload my paper to an online repository like ResearchGate (cf. here).

The question is, however, when I would upload the paper.

  • Can I upload the abstract before the actual publication?
  • Can I upload the paper (e.g. preprint) before the actual publication?
  • Or should I wait with both until the paper has actually been published?

For example, Springer only allows you to make your work publicly available 12 months after official publication or later. The policiy does not say anything about abstracts, however.

Since I think that making the abstract available beforehand is good publicity for my paper, I´m interested in

  • common practice -- when do you upload what?
  • legal restrictions.
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My main experience is with publishing papers at IEEE conferences (the kind where a conference contribution counts as full paper), so I'll stick to that for my answer, although it probably extends to IEEE journals all the same. IEEE are pretty explicit about their rules, this is an excerpt from a document called author_faq.pdf:

Can an author post his manuscript on a preprint server such as ArXiv?

Yes. The IEEE recognizes that many authors share their unpublished manuscripts on public sites. Once manuscripts have been accepted for publication by IEEE, an author is required to post an IEEE copyright notice on his preprint. Upon publication, the author must replace the preprint with either 1) the full citation to the IEEE work with Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) or a link to the paper’s abstract in IEEE Xplore, or 2) the accepted version only (not the IEEE-published version), including the IEEE copyright notice and full citation, with a link to the final, published paper in IEEE Xplore.

There is more including the definition of accepted vs. published version (published version is "with copy-editing, proofreading and formatting added by IEEE") and uploading the paper on a personal website (also allowed), but since that's not the focus of the question, I won't copy it here.

Which brings me back to the core of the question: when to upload the paper?

Actually, in the case of ArXiv, it's already in the name: ArXiv is a preprint server, as the name indicates, uploading happens before printing / publication. At what point exactly is up to the author, I usually uploaded a paper once it was accepted, others uploaded their papers when they submitted them for review.

  • I'm not an IP expert, but the statement "once manuscripts have been accepted for publication by IEEE, an author is required to post an IEEE copyright notice on his preprint" seems dubious, because I don't think IEEE can retrospectively claim copyright on earlier work. – user2768 Aug 25 '16 at 8:39
  • They don't retrospectively claim copyright, they have you transfer copyright to them before publication – Sabine Aug 25 '16 at 18:22
  • IEEE insist that "an IEEE copyright notice" is placed on a preprint for which the author did not transfer copyright, thus this seems like retrospectively claiming copyright. This might not be the case if the IEEE copyright notice merely asserts that IEEE own the copyright for a derivative of the preprint. – user2768 Aug 26 '16 at 8:17
  • Thanks! This clarifies the situation for me a bit. In individual cases, I think I should still ask the publisher when and what I am allowed to upload to public servers. – Richie Aug 26 '16 at 11:27
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Springer's self-archiving policy states:

By signing the Copyright Transfer Statement you [may] deposit ... the article in any repository, provided it is only made publicly available 12 months after official publication or later.

Thus, you may deposit the article in any repository before signing the Copyright Transfer Statement.

  • Ah, I think you´re right. How interesting! The policy states that prior versions of the article published on non-commercial pre-print servers like arXiv.org can remain on these servers and/or can be updated with the author’s accepted version. (...) Acknowledgement needs to be given to the final publication and a link should be inserted to the published article on Springer’s website (...). But if I have already signed the CTS, can I still upload the abstract? – Richie Aug 24 '16 at 12:55
  • The policy clearly forbids uploading the article. I suspect uploading the abstract goes against the spirit of the policy, but it isn't explicitly forbidden, since the policy only refers to "the article," not derivatives of it. – user2768 Aug 25 '16 at 8:37

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