Posting a version of your article online provides access if the published version is in a subscription (paywalled) journal. Some disciplines post preprints which is the first version (the one submitted to a journal). However, it is more valuable to provide the final version (after changes from the peer review process are incorporated), called the postprint or author's accepted manuscript (AAM). Preprint servers allow you to replace your preprint with the accepted version later.
If your publication is based on funded research, be aware that many funders now require public access to the resulting article, and possibly to the data and software as well. These include major U.S. funding agencies such as the NSF and NIH. Check the OA Policies tab for more information.
Virginia Tech's new open access policy was approved March 22, 2021, and all Virginia Tech authors can post accepted manuscripts (the version that has gone through the peer review process) to VTechWorks if your article was accepted after that date (the policy is not retrospective). A very small number of publishers may require authors to waive the policy. For full information, see the policy page, including the How to Deposit tab.
If you want to deposit an accepted manuscript that was accepted before March 22, 2021, you will need to check your publishing contract or check SHERPA/ROMEO. About 75% of academic journals allow authors to post an article version online. The fine print dictates what version you can share, where, and when. If you need help interpreting it, please contact email@example.com.
The policy does not cover preprints (the submitted version of an article), so before posting you will need to make sure that your target journals do not prohibit them. Visit the journal webpage for preprint information, or check SHERPA/ROMEO. The good news is that most journals accept submissions that have been preprinted, and in some cases, journals even recruit them. But always check to make sure that you aren't ruling yourself out of publishing with a specific journal. If you're looking for places that host preprints, check out this list of preprint servers, or see the list below, or contact firstname.lastname@example.org for help. Preprints are open and help get research results out fast, although they aren't peer reviewed.
What about my personal website?
If you retire or take a job elsewhere, your VT website will be deleted. An open access repository like VTechWorks provides enduring access for all, checks for proper permissions, has its articles indexed by Google Scholar, and ensures that preservation, metadata, and format transfer are provided for. If you post your articles on your personal site, please make sure that your work is also in an open access repository.
What about Academia.edu, ResearchGate, and other networking sites?
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