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I am an undergraduate student currently working in a co-op position at a company in my field. I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to be the lead author on a paper based on the research I performed here, and I have a couple of questions regarding what I can do with this information.

I would like to publish it while also making it as visible as possible (partly because I consider myself a proponent of open sharing of information, but also because I'd like to refer future potential employers to it and it would be easier if it were not behind a paywall). I understand that some journals have open access options, but these tend to be quite expensive. What options do I have for publishing in an open way without expensive costs (ideally no cost, since my company has made it clear that they will not financially support publication)?

I understand that one solution to this could be putting it on ArXiv. However, since ArXiv is not a journal, would it be considered incorrect or misleading to call my paper a publication if I were to post it there?

My last question is with regards to contact information in papers. Since I will be leaving the company in a few months, I would like to be able to put an email address in the contact information for the paper that will still be active for a long time. Is it frowned upon or does it look bad if I use my personal Gmail account for contact information?

Thank you for all your help!

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What options do I have for publishing in an open way without expensive costs?

This is highly field-dependent, but there may possibly exist journals out there which will publish open-access for free. In my field it's common for papers to be embargoed for 6 months or a year, and then made open access, but again this varies from journal to journal and from field to field.

However, since ArXiv is not a journal, would it be considered incorrect or misleading to call my paper a publication if I were to post it there?

Yes. The correct term for a paper that has been posted on the arXiv is "pre-print". This is not the same thing as a publication. To call your paper a publication it needs to have been published in a (reputable) journal i.e. to have gone through the peer review process.

Is it frowned upon or does it look bad if I use my personal Gmail account for contact information?

This would be pretty unusual, and as a reader I would think twice about the legitimacy of the work if a personal email address was attached-- in fact (I may be wrong on this) but I believe you need an academic email address e.g. name@place.edu or name@place.ac.uk to submit to arXiv in the first place.

My advice: talk to your line manager at the company and make a case for publishing the work. It seems strange to me that they have had you write this paper but won't support publishing it.

I think it's also a good idea to talk to a member of academic staff in your university department if you can-- all the better if their area of expertise is related to your paper. Ask their advice about publication in your field. It may even be worth asking if they have time to read over the manuscript draft and provide some feedback.

  • Hm, perhaps I will try to find a cheaper journal - this will probably make my manager more receptive to support. Is there a list of journals that compares their price to their reputability/impact factor? – Billy Kalfus Nov 8 '17 at 22:45
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    This is not the same thing as a publication — That's a matter of opinion. An arXiv preprint is not the same thing as a peer-reviewed publication, but the word "publication" only literally means "something that has been made public". – JeffE Nov 8 '17 at 23:46
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In many cases when you publish a paper in a journal, you may still freely use and publish your preprinted version of the paper under some conditions. You should read this.

You should also know that arXiv is not your only option. You can also use ResearchGate which is very popular nowadays.

  • Is there something that makes ResearchGate objectively better than arXiv? Or is it just popularity? – Billy Kalfus Nov 8 '17 at 22:17
  • As far as I know there is no real competition between the two, as they generally set different aims. ResearchGate allows you to share your papers, but it is a commercial service that doesn't fully comply with the Open Access principles. It is more of a social network with an option to share your papers. On the other hand, arXiv adheres more to the Open Access principles. So I guess that if it is your primary concern, you should go with arXiv. – Moon Nov 8 '17 at 22:33
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    Whatever limited prestige arXiv carries, ResearchGate carries even less. – JeffE Nov 8 '17 at 23:45

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