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Open Access: OA Post/Preprint

This guide introduces open access, describes how researchers can make their work open access, and describes support for open access publishing provided by the University Libraries at Virginia Tech.

About Article Posting/Preprinting

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.

How Can I Post/Preprint My Article?

Your rights are in your publishing contract- please read it!  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 me (info to your right) or Gail McMillan (  You can also check SHERPA/ROMEO (link below) to look up the journal and its permissions.

If you object to the contract language, add an addendum (see below) or change the contract language.  Your ability to provide global access to your own work is important, so check for rights before you choose a journal.

Where Can I Post/Preprint My Article?

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, ResearchGate, and other networking sites?

Research networking sites are usually for-profit businesses that require registration for full access. As with any "free" for-profit internet service, you should consider how your personal information might be used (as the saying goes, "you are the product").  Unlike true open access repositories, these sites do not check permissions on user uploads, so they can become subject to DMCA takedown notices from publishers. These sites often lack a stated preservation plan, and their terms of use usually say that they can end their service at any time.  If you find value in the networking on these sites, please make sure that your work is also in an open access repository. For more information, see A Social Networking Site Is Not An Open Access Repository.

Institutional Repository Manager

Philip Young's picture
Philip Young
(540) 231-8845
Newman Library, Room 423


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