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I read often that preprint servers such as arXiv are changing how we publish. However, no one in my area of medical imaging uses them and they are regarded in my lab with suspicion.

I currently have a finished manuscript that I am about to send to an IEEE transaction journal. I would like a preprint of this manuscript to be publicly available for several reasons. However, my supervisors are worried this might invalidate my ability to publish this manuscript. They don't want to take the risk that I do this wrong and can't publish.

So here is the simple question I never seem to see a simple answer to. Here is a finished manuscript, fully formatted for the journal I am going to submit it to, in PDF. Can I submit this PDF as a pre-print to arXiv right now, or not? Will the publisher still consider publishing it? To play devil's advocate, why wouldn't IEEE say, this has already been published in the arXiv, it is no longer new work?

Edit: Here is what IEEE says: "Does IEEE consider an author posting her paper on preprint servers or on her company's web sites to be a form of prior publication, which may then disqualify the paper from further editorial consideration? No. IEEE policy allows an author to submit previously posted papers to IEEE publications for consideration as long as she is able to transfer copyright to IEEE, i.e., she had not transferred copyright to another party prior to submission."

marked as duplicate by Franck Dernoncourt, Scientist, Anyon, FuzzyLeapfrog, cag51 Aug 18 at 22:30

This question has been asked before and already has an answer. If those answers do not fully address your question, please ask a new question.

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Yes you can. If/when they accept the paper you need to perform the actions as described in:

From https://www.ieee.org/documents/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 The IEEE recognizes that many authors share their unpublished manuscripts on public sites.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 IEEEpublished version), including the IEEE copyright notice and full citation, with a link to the final, published paper in IEEE Xplore

On the author center of IEEE it's restated here, that prior to publication one can share it on ArXiv

http://ieeeauthorcenter.ieee.org/publish-with-ieee/author-education-resources/guidelines-and-policies/policy-posting-your-article/

Prior to Submission to an IEEE Publication
Authors may post their article anywhere at any time, including on preprint servers such as arXiv.org.

Authors seem to get a lot of leeway from IEEE, including reuse of their previously submitted work in new works. Only thing is that your preprint must match the accepted version by IEEE. Not any rough draft or anything.

  • Can you comment on whether particular IEEE journals/transactions have different preprint policies than the general IEEE policy you cited above? (As someone who publishes in the IEEE regularly, I was under the impression that this varies according to the particular journal/transactions you are interested in publishing in.) – Mad Jack Sep 8 '17 at 12:54
  • It seems to be an IEEE wide thing, also in the author center it's repeated in several places, with nowhere a mention of "With the exclusion of.." Also all links on the different journals lead back to the author center so far i've seen. "Submission guidelines" etc.. – Tschallacka Sep 8 '17 at 13:07
  • Yes, that seems reasonable. (Perhaps it might still be a good idea for OP to check with the particular journal/transacations, just to be sure.) – Mad Jack Sep 8 '17 at 13:59
  • While I generally agree with this, if the publication is of very high quality or is expected to cause high impact, I would be hesitant to publish it anywhere else before it is fully accepted and (electronically) published. It may happen that arXiv version is being widely shared and cited, but everyone forgetting the journal publication. At my university, it matters - citations of non-journal and non-conference papers are not taken into the account when evaluating one's work. May not be relevant to you, but could be for your supervisor or other coauthors. – xmp125a Jan 22 at 6:27
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    @Tschallacka I, unfortunately, have no influence on the rules our University uses to grade academic achievement. And it is not even "elite" university. – xmp125a Feb 9 at 19:40
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Check with the journal you are trying to publish in. Different journals might have different views on things and there is no general answer that is true for all of them.

Try looking up the regulations for copyright when publishing with said journal, there should be information there on what you are still allowed to do (upload to arXiv, upload to your personal homepage, send it to people only on request, etc.). Maybe they don't want you to upload the exact version you publish with them, but rather a preprint (e.g. without the journal formating).

And btw, this is not a simple question, as the correct answer differs between journals, fields, etc.


Ok, today is my nice day: Googling "IEEE Arxiv", the first hit is this FAQ, which has a point:

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 IEEEpublished version), including the IEEE copyright notice and full citation, with a link to the final, published paper in IEEE Xplore

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    I'd say the question is simple, but it doesn't have a simple answer ;) – Jessica B Sep 8 '17 at 9:52
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    Here is what IEEE says: "Does IEEE consider an author posting her paper on preprint servers or on her company's web sites to be a form of prior publication, which may then disqualify the paper from further editorial consideration? No. IEEE policy allows an author to submit previously posted papers to IEEE publications for consideration as long as she is able to transfer copyright to IEEE, i.e., she had not transferred copyright to another party prior to submission." Again there is a lot of superstition around here regarding this, and I want to make sure this is an answer to my question. – barnhillec Sep 8 '17 at 9:53
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Although it might not answer the question exacly, googling revealed a useful Wikipedia list of the policies of some journals.

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I don't know of any reasonable publishers in my field (theoretical CS) who would refuse to publish work that has been submitted to arXiv as a preprint beforehand. However, there is one important exception which hasn't been pointed out by other answers: double-blind reviewing.

For venues that employ double-blind reviewing, submissions are required to be anonymized, i.e., not give away the identity or affiliations of their authors. Many such venues also require submitters to ensure that the information cannot be inferred easily from the submission by searching the Web, and some of these venues (or some reviewers at these venues) will outright reject any submission that they manage to deanonymize in this way. (In my opinion, this is stupid, but I have seen this happen at a respectable conference.) For this reason, it may be a problem if you have your work posted on arXiv before submitting, because a reviewer will probably be able to deanonymize you by searching for your work (the title, abstract, or some random sentence) and finding the arXiv page with your name.

As arXiv submissions cannot be deleted, I think it may be better to wait for acceptance before posting your work on arXiv, in cases where you are planning to submit your paper to a double-blind conference with such a policy, or if you might be resubmitting it later to such a conference.

See also a related question and discussion of this problem.

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