(This is the draft of a departmental research-archiving policy offered as a potential model for adoption by universities)

Departmental Research Self-Archiving Policy

"Free online availability substantially increases a paper's impact" Nature, Volume 411, Number 6837, p. 521, 2001.
  1. It is university policy to maximise the visibility, usage and impact of departmental research output by maximising online full-text access to it for all would-be users and researchers worldwide.
    1. It is also our policy to minimise the effort that each of us has to expend in order to provide open online access to university research output.
    2. With all university research output accessible online, departments will be able to respond to research assessment (e.g. RAE) and other administrative initiatives with minimal input and effort from individual researchers.
  2. We have accordingly adopted the policy that all departmental research output (full-text) is to be self-archived in the departmental EPrint Archive (e.g., eprints.ecs.soton.ac.uk). This archive forms the official record of the department's research output; all publication lists required for university administration or promotion will be generated from this source.
  3. This policy is compatible with publishers' copyright agreements:
    1. The copyright for the unrefereed preprint resides entirely with the author before it is submitted for peer-reviewed publication, hence it can be self-archived irrespective of the copyright policy of the journal to which it is eventually submitted.
    2. The copyright for the peer-reviewed postprint will depend on the specific wording of the copyright agreement that the author signs with the publisher.
    3. Many publishers will allow the peer-reviewed postprint to be self-archived. The copyright transfer agreement will either specify this right explicitly or the author can inquire about it directly. If you are uncertain about the terms of your agreement, a table of copyright policies is available from the JISC Rights MEtadata for Open archiving (ROMEO)  project. Wherever possible, you are advised to modify your copyright agreement so that it does not disallow self-archiving.
    4. In the rare case where you have signed a very restrictive copyright transfer form in which you have agreed explicitly not to self-archive the peer-reviewed postprint, you are encouraged to self-archive, alongside your already-archived preprint, a "corrigenda" file, listing the substantive changes the user would need to make in the unrefereed preprint to make it equivalent to the refereed postprint.
    5. Copyright agreements may state that eprints can be archived on your personal homepage: The departmental EPrint Archive is a part of the University's infrastructure for your personal homepage.
  4. We do not require you to archive the full text of books or research monographs. It is sufficient to archive their reference lists (for scientometric analysis) along with the usual metadata.
  5. If your article has appeared in an Open Access Journal it is sufficient to archive its metadata, its reference list and the URL of its full-text in the journal's OAI-compliant Archive: but you are nevertheless encouraged to archive the full text in the departmental archive as well.
  6. Some journals still maintain submission policies which state that a preprint will not be considered for publication if it has been previously 'publicised' by making it accessible online. Unlike copyright transfer agreements, such submission policies are not a matter of law. If you have concerns about submitting an archived paper to a journal which still maintains such a restrictive submission policy, please discuss it with the Department's IPR and Copyright Advisor.

† The RAE is the UK's Research Assessment Exercise, whose future form is currently under review (see debate). The results of the RAE are very highly correlated with standard biobliometric measures of groups' research output (bibliometrics is the calculation of research impact by counting the number of citations that an article, project, person, research group or institution has received.) The implementation of this policy will allow the Department to begin to calculate its groups' impact factors on a continuing basis.

‡ This is known as the Ingelfinger Rule, after a previous editor of the New England Journal of Medicine. As the Ingelfinger Rule is now vanishing, and as it was never either a legal or an enforceable matter, it need not be a concern of authors. See, for example. the new policy of Nature, which formerly practised the Ingelfinger Rule.


An eprint is the digital full-text of a peer-reviewed research article, either before or after refereeing and publication.

A preprint is any version of an article before the final, refereed, revised, accepted draft.

A postprint is any version of an article from the refereed, accepted, final draft onwards (including post-publication corrections and revisions).

Metadata is information about an eprint, usually the name of the authors, the title, date, journal etc.

To self-archive is to deposit a digital document you have written in a publicly accessible website. The department's archive website is an  OAI-compliant EPrint Archive which provides a simple interface for the depositer to copy/paste the important metadata for an article as well as attaching the full-text document.

See the BOAI's Self-Archiving FAQ for further information on self-archiving.