If you would like to re-publish ("self-archive") a journal article or another paper via the "Green Road" of Open Access in the Research Collection, you need to comply with the copyright policies of the original publisher.


Article version

Many publishing houses permit the publication of either preprints or postprints (also called Author's Accepted Manuscript, short AAM) of published articles in an institutional repository such as the Research Collection.

A preprint is the manuscript version of an article as submitted to the publisher, i.e. before peer review.

A postprint is the accepted manuscript after the peer review process. The postprint...

  • is the final author's manuscript accepted by the publisher for publication
  • contains all the revisions made in the course of the peer review process
  • is equivalent to the published version in terms of content
  • is designed by the author
  • does not have a publisher layout or contain any publisher logos

Publishing houses rarely allow the use of the publisher PDF for publication in a repository.


Some publishing houses only permit the publication of articles in repositories after a so-called embargo from the first publication date. The embargo generally varies between 6 to 36 months.

You can nevertheless submit your article at any time to the Research Collection. When uploading the file, indicate the embargo end date - your file will then be automatically made available to external users on this day while only metadata will be visible immediately.

Where to look up publisher copyright policies?

The SHERPA/RoMEO database provides information on self-archiving guidelines of many scholarly journals and publishers.

Please consider however, that in case of doubt only those regulations actually stipulated in your publishing contract (Copyright Transfer Agreement, Licence to Publish) are legally binding.

In the absence of a publishing contract, the publisher's general terms and conditions apply.


The following example below of an entry in SHERPA/RoMEO for the journal "Advances in Intelligent Systems and Computing" tells you that...

  • your are allowed to publish a preprint (submitted version)
  • you are allowed to publish a postprint (accepted version) in an open acccess repository after an embargo of 12 months or on your homepage without embargo
  • your are only allowed to publish the publisher's version if you have paid an open access fee to the publisher

Securing authors' rights

Ideally, you should always make sure whether and to which extent self-archiving in an institutional repository is permitted before signing a publishing contract. If your publisher does not allow self-archiving, you can try to negotiate the right to self-archive, for example by adding and having the publisher sign an author addendum to the publishing contract (see eg. SPARC Author's Addendum).

The Swiss National Science Foundation also recommends that funded authors retain their rights using the so-called Rights Retention Strategy in order to enable open access publication without an embargo for all funded research output. The recommended procedure, including a text module, is described in the Guidelines for meeting the OA requirement.

Moreover, you can also obtain the publisher's consent to making a work accessible via the Research Collection retrospectively. 

Self-archiving as part of a doctoral thesis (cumulative doctoral thesis)

Some publishers have special conditions for reusing content within doctoral theses that are more generous than what is documented in Sherpa/Romeo. You can find more information on this topic on the page Cumulative doctoral theses.

Reserving a DOI

Your submission will receive a DOI when finished. If you would like to receive it before uploading your publication, follow the instructions here: Reserving a DOI

File formats for publications

Research articles should be published as PDF-Files. We recommend using PDF/A. Instructions for Creating PDF files can be found here: Creating PDF Files

Avoid special characters in names of files and folders. These characters hamper compatibility because they lead to undesired effects depending on the operating system

  • Avoid the following characters:
    • \ / ? : * " > < | : # % " { } | ^ [ ] ` ~ as well as blanks
    • Non ASCII characters such as ¢ ™ ® , umlauts (ä ö ü), diacritics such as à é ô etc.
  • The following ASCII characters are permitted:
    • ABCDEFGHIJKLMNOPQRSTUVWXYZabcdefghijklmnopqrstuvwxyz0123456789
  • We are currently not aware of problems with the folllowing characters:
    • ! $ & ' ( ) + , - . ; = @ _

Authorship and institutional affiliation

For information on ETH Zurich's requirements regarding authorship and affiliation information, please refer to the website Scientific publishing.

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