So you’ve completed your study and published your paper in the journal of your choice. Now you want to make your paper accessible to more and more readers within and outside the scientific community so as to increase its impact. One way to increase the visibility of your paper is through self-archiving.
What is self-archiving?
Self-archiving is the practice of placing digital versions of scientific literature online. When you self-archive your research, you make it freely available to anyone on the Internet. In other words, self-archiving makes your research widely “visible, accessible, harvestable, searchable, and useable,”1 thus increasing its reach and impact, and possibly the number of citations it receives.
Where does self-archiving fit in the publishing process?
As the figure below shows, you can self-archive different versions of your research paper: (a) the version before peer review, called the “pre-print,” and (b) the version that has been peer reviewed and accepted for publication, called the “refereed post-print.” All versions of papers made available online are referred to as “e-prints.”
Figure: Stages when manuscripts may be self-archived (adapted5)
Where can you self-archive?
Research articles can be self-archived in repositories, which are electronic archives, or on personal servers.6
Many universities and research institutions own repositories where all their members can deposit their research papers. This enables researchers from that institution to view each other’s work and gives anyone interested a broad view of all work being conducted through that institution.
Some archives are subject-area specific and tend to be very popular in their respective disciplines, for example, PubMed for biomedical studies; RePEc for economics; and arXiv most popularly for physics, mathematics, and computer science.
Researchers can upload their work onto their own web pages. Further, some social networking sites for researchers, like ResearchGate , have sections dedicated to uploaded publications.
Copyright issues related to self-archiving