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I am considering submitting my paper to both a computer science journal and arXiv. No version of the paper has been published in any conference or anything at this point.

  • Is this going to be an issue with the journal?
  • Should I hold off submitting to arXiv?
  • If this is journal dependent, how do I find out about the journal policy?
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    a good resource is this: sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/index.php – mystupid_acct May 7 '17 at 17:03
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    You cannot get a good answer to this if you don't specify your field. In math, it would be shocking at this point if you didn't submit to the arXiv, but for many other fields it's different. – Ben Webster May 7 '17 at 17:31
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    It mainly depends on the specific journal. – FuzzyLeapfrog May 7 '17 at 19:13
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    What's the name of the journal? In the end, the answer depends on the concrete journal. – FuzzyLeapfrog May 8 '17 at 8:29
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    @FedericoPoloni Which I consider shocking. How is anyone supposed to read their papers? Dead trees 5 years after they were written? – Ben Webster May 8 '17 at 23:57
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The answer is field dependent, in particular some fields in the humanities tend to consider "already published" what appeared even on a web page. Also, Glam magazines such as Nature and Science want to be able to keep the papers secret until they release them, possibly with communication toward the press. In mathematics, the most theoretical parts of computer science, and some of physics you can definitely put a preprint on the arXiv before submitting to a journal (there might be journals who don't enable this, but they would be a small minority). There is an excellent resource to determine the policy of a journal or publisher.

All of this could be gathered from previous comments. Now, the reason why I write this answer is to stress that for Elsevier, the default policy is that you can put your preprint on the arXiv and later update it according to referee's comment ("postprint" version), but you do not have the right to put the postprint on the arXiv between acceptance and 12 months after publication if the preprint was not there before. To avoid trouble you should thus put your preprint on the arXiv before acceptance (before submission being the easiest way).

  • Well, some Elsevier journals are pretty "glam" (per ¶1 of this answer). OP, or OP's university, may end up having to pay for Open Access with the journal. It doesn't hurt to ask the editorial staff! A quick email or phone call could save OP considerable trouble in the end. – Joe Corneli May 9 '17 at 21:12
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My understanding is that it won't be an issue. The latter is mostly dependent on the aspects relative to the legal nature of the copyright (the contract between you - the author - and the publisher - the journal) and the pair-review process. My understanding is that what you publish in ArXiv is a raw manuscript which is the "raw-material" that goes into the pair-review process. The pair reviewed article (pre-print) has suffered many "transformations" based on the the reviewing-editors' requests. The copyright you're required to sign, regulates the pre-print and not the raw-manuscript. Therefore, putting your raw-manuscript on ArXiv shouldn't be an issue as long as the raw-material and the pre-print are not identical. If the latter is false, the reviewers would have not suggested any changes (not even cosmetic changes - rephrasing some fragment, for example) to the article, which, in my experience, is quite rare.

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    That's not the main point here. The main issue is that the journal's editors could refuse the manuscript because the result has already appeared online, so it's no longer "unpublished". It's well within their rights to do so, since publishing a paper or not is their own decision and they are free to set criteria and conditions. In some fields journals routinely do that, in some they don't (and doing it would be considered outrageous). – Federico Poloni May 8 '17 at 22:57

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