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Open Access Preprint Guide and FAQ

Visualization research is better communicated and acted on if it is freely accessible to the research community, practitioners, and the general public. This accessibility can be improved if authors post the final version of their accepted paper to a reliable open access repository. VIS can facilitate an increase in sharing of papers by informing authors of this option, establishing guidelines for which repositories are freely accessible and reliable, helping authors use those repositories, and dispelling misconceptions.

Open Access Repository Criteria

In order to ensure that papers are discoverable and remain accessible long-term, authors are encouraged to post their work to an open access repository that meets the following criteria:

  1. Findable - Research is most effectively disseminated if it can be easily searched for, especially when people do not know exactly what they are looking for. This discoverability can be critical for scholars trying to find research from which they can build. Therefore, papers in the archive must be indexed or registered via commonly used search engines. Thorough metadata, such as title, author, and possibly publication information about the peer-reviewed version should also be indexed with the paper.

  2. Accessible - Research is better communicated and acted on if it is freely accessible to the research community, practitioners, and the general public. Therefore, there can be no cost or sign-up requirement for viewing papers on the archive.

  3. Identifiable - For citations and references to be useful, papers must have a globally unique and persistent identifier (e.g., a DOI). Content posted to the repository must also be immutable and timestamped. Multiple versions of a paper are acceptable, as long as previous versions and timestamps are retained.

  4. Reliable - Research should represent a permanent advancement of knowledge and understanding, so it is important that posted papers are available for perpetuity. The archive must therefore have an explicitly stated plan for long-term reliability (example), or it must deposit all papers in a dedicated “dark archive” such as Portico or Clockss.

A repository that meets the criteria for long-term reliability and is inline with IEEE policy is (instructions). If you would like to use another repository such as an institutional repository, please email an explanation of how it meets the criteria to A personal website, lab website, or any site that is not immutable and has no explicit plans for long-term availability (e.g. GitHub) does NOT meet the criteria.

Sharing the Open Version with VIS

After your paper is accepted and before the camera-ready deadline, PCS will have a textbox where you can enter the URL that points to the preprint version of your article in the open access repository if you have shared it. This paper should be the final “author version”. If you have any issues or questions, please contact the open practice chairs. If you cannot share the paper on an approved open access repository, please enter the reason instead of the URL.

Is sharing the preprint compatible with IEEE’s publication policy?

Yes! Until you sign the IEEE copyright policy, the paper is 100% yours, and you can post your preprint anywhere you like. After you sign the copyright form, IEEE explicitly allows you to keep the article on a non-profit open access repository. This quote comes from the IEEE author FAQ:

Can an author post his manuscript on a preprint server such as ArXiv?

Yes. The IEEE recognizes that many authors share their unpublished manuscripts on public sites. Once manuscripts have been accepted for publication by IEEE, an author is required to post an IEEE copyright notice on his preprint. Upon publication, the author must replace the preprint with either 1) the full citation to the IEEE work with Digital Object Identifiers (DOI) or a link to the paper’s abstract in IEEE Xplore, or 2) the accepted version only (not the IEEE published version), including the IEEE copyright notice and full citation, with a link to the final, published paper in IEEE Xplore.

In other words, you may post your paper to a preprint server, but after acceptance, you must comply with IEEE regulations - for example by adding the DOI (which links to the IEEE version), the IEEE copyright notice and the full citation.

Which version of the paper can I share?

Share the final preprint version of your accepted article that you create after all rounds of review because it is the most scrutinized and polished. Please do not share the version created by IEEE, which typically has page numbers.

After you receive the DOI from IEEE, you must add it to the repository, which adds a link to the IEEE page. For arXiv, you can follow the guidance here.

What about Plan-S?

Plan-S is an upcoming European policy requiring publicly funded research publications to be open access (available for free). However, it only relates to open access of papers via the publisher, not preprints or other open practices such as open materials, open data, or preregistration. It can, however, impact which publisher you choose.