Q: Can a paper deposited in an institutional repository be submitted to a journal or another repository?

Detailed Question -

While working on a Masters Degree in Data Analytics I submitted two original research papers (quasi-opinion pieces) to my then University's digital repository. Both were accepted. I am the sole author. I would now like to publish them formally. Can I submit them to journals or deposit them in other repositories as well?

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Answer:

From the viewpoint of a university's institutional repository, it would not be unethical or unacceptable for authors to submit their work to a journal or another repository. However, if you make changes to one version, you’ll have the hassle of replicating them in all repositories.  Readers might find different versions of your paper in online searches and get confused. If you’re hosting a version of your paper in an established repository, like Figshare, there should be no reason to simultaneously host it elsewhere. If you do choose to host your preprint in different repositories, it would be a good idea to check whether either repository mentions any restrictions on this. 

Regarding publication in a journal, it is perfectly acceptable, and in fact desirable to develop a preprint into a full-fledged journal article. Preprints are not publications: they are just a way to give people access to your research. For your work to gain the stamp of credibility, it must be published in a peer reviewed journal.

However, there may be some restrictions and/or specifications at the journal end about submitting papers that have been deposited in a repository. Many journals allow authors to deposit into open repositories pre-prints that do not contain any edits or revisions incorporated during the publication process. Others allow authors to deposit preprints of their work that have been revised and show the revisions made in the publication process, while a few journals allow authors to deposit the final publisher's version of the article. Some publishers have an embargo period and allow authors to deposit their work in a repository only a few months after publication. These are some examples of the kinds of specifications different journals may have. There could be other instructions/specifications as well. You should go through your target journal's instructions for authors carefully before you submit your paper.

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