Publish in Elsevier journals?

This posting is aimed at OU researchers who deposit in ORO, but may well also be of interest to any repository managers or administrators from other universities that read this blog.

For those of you who regularly publish in Elsevier journals, you may well be interested to learn that they (Elsevier) produce an online version of your paper that can be downloaded and deposited in ORO without any worries about copyright. As many of you will know, Elsevier have an ‘Articles in Press’ service for most of their journals. This involves the early online publication of your paper at three stages of production prior to it being assigned to a volume and issue. These stages are: ‘Accepted Manuscript’, ‘Uncorrected Proof’, and ‘Corrected Proof’. It is the first of these three (the ‘Accepted Manuscript’) that you can deposit in ORO.

Here’s how to do it…

Upon acceptance of your paper, you should receive an email from the journal’s editorial office. In that email there should be a hyperlinked DOI number (Digital Object Identifier). By clicking on that hyperlink you should be taken through to the current online version of your paper on Science Direct (Elsevier’s online journals platform); so, that could be the ‘Accepted Manuscript’, the ‘Uncorrected Proof’, the ‘Corrected Proof’, or the final published version, depending on how soon after you received your email of acceptance you are doing this.

Assuming you click on the DOI pretty promptly after getting the email, you should be taken through to the ‘Accepted Manuscript’ version of your paper. You’ll be able to tell because it will be labelled as such, it will have an Elsevier-branded cover sheet detailing what version it is, and it won’t be formatted in to journal style. All that’s left to do is to save the PDF and include it in your ORO submission when you’re ready.

So why is this a good way to do things? Well, it saves you the bother of having to dig through all of your Word files (or LaTex if you’re a mathematician or a physicist!) looking for the accepted manuscript version of your paper to deposit in ORO. You also don’t have to worry about uploading any elements of your paper that might be in separate files (e.g. figures and tables). But most importantly of all, it means you are building ORO into your publishing routine; as soon as you get that email of acceptance, think ORO!

Papers that you deposit in ORO in this way will of course not yet have a volume, issue, or page numbers assigned to them. But don’t worry – we will initially deposit the item as ‘In Press’ and then we (not you) will update the bibliographic details when the paper is published.

Here’s an example of a paper already on ORO that is ‘In Press’ and has an Elsevier ‘Accepted Manuscript’ attached (of course, if you’re reading this in a few months time it may no longer be ‘In Press’):

Finally, a reminder. Elsevier (and most other publishers for that matter) only allow the ‘Accepted Manuscript’ to be deposited in open access repositories like ORO. If it is an uncorrected or corrected proof (i.e. it has been copyedited and typeset in to journal style), or it is the final published version (the PDF the publisher sends to you upon publication) we cannot take it.

7 Responses to “Publish in Elsevier journals?”

  1. Brian Webb Says:

    Hi Colin,

    Not sure I see the value of this. What benefit is it to have an unpublished paper on ORO when there is no journal reference that another researcher can cite?

    Also, when a paper is published, by Elsevier or another publisher, what is to stop us putting the final pdf version up on ORO? How do we know who allows this and who doesn’t on an ongoing basis?


  2. Colin Smith Says:


    All of the papers on ORO are published. In fact, we don’t allow anything on ORO that isn’t published. However, the version of the published paper that can be attached is dictated to us by the publisher’s copyright policy. The following website details the policies of most academic journal publishers:

    So, in answer to your (second) question, it is the individual policies of the journal or the publisher of that journal that generally prevents us from using the final published pdf version. I say ‘generally’ because there are some more liberal-minded publishers that do allow the use of the final published pdf, and if you are interested you can find a list of these on the abovementioned website. I would gladly explain why publishers are averse to allowing the use of the final version, and all the associated arguments, but I haven’t got the space here!

    Having established that all papers on ORO are published, I think what you probably mean by your first question is ‘what benefit is there to having an earlier version of a published paper on ORO when there is no journal reference that another researcher can cite?’

    Well, the answer to that is that there is a journal reference to cite because it has been accepted for publication. In other words, whether the paper is ‘In Press’ or has been assigned a volume, issue and page numbers when it is deposited in ORO, there will be a published version and that published version can be cited.

    Of course, this is what we want (the final published version being cited) because this is what contributes positively towards the author’s citation count. Accordingly, one of the things we are in the process of developing in order to encourage people to cite the correct version is a cover sheet system for every full text item in ORO. The cover sheet will explain the version of the paper you are viewing, together with clear instructions on how to cite the (subsequent) published version.

    There are other issues surrounding this; for example, what to do if you want to reference a specific page (e.g. for a quote) within a paper. The page numbering in the accepted manuscript will obviously be different to that in the final typeset version. For this reason, we plan to add an FAQ about how to cite items in ORO. In fact, I plan to work on that today!

    Many thanks for raising these points.


  3. Brian Webb Says:

    thanks for this clarification Colin. Of course by “unpublished” I was referring to anything less than the final manuscript. As you say, ultimately only this can be cited in a meaningful way (that is, in a way that adds to the author’s citations). However I readily accept that intermediate publishing can increase the chances of that happening and in this respect ORO has an important part to play.


  4. Simon Kelley Says:

    I didn’t too carefully about this when I stumbled onto the Elsevier site to find one of my papers in this format but Colin is right, it makes life easier if you don’t routinely make PDFs of the final submitted version of your paper. Plus your unformatted PDF comes endorsed by a journal approved front page !

    What would really improve things – but might upset Elsevier – would be to have the ORO entry appear in google when I search using the DOI. Currently only the Elsevier site appears in the list if I type the DOI and search. Is there any way to improve that ?


  5. Mahesh Anand Says:

    This will certainly be useful for any future “Accepted Manuscript”. What about those that are already published? Is there a way we can ask publishers to provide us with a version that they are happy to be deposited on ORO?

  6. Colin Smith Says:


    You could try, if you have a contact at Elsevier for the journal or journals you publish in. This could be a Managing Editor, or perhaps a Publishing Editor – someone involved in administering the peer review process. I’m not sure if they keep a PDF copy from each stage of article production, and even if they do I’m equally unsure as to whether they would willingly dig them out and send them to you.

    What might be easier is if you still have the final accepted peer-reviewed manuscripts on file yourself (e.g. in Microsoft Word format, or whichever word processing package you use). If we’re talking about items already on ORO, feel free to send these files through to me; I’ll then convert them to PDF and attach them for you. If they are for already-published items that haven’t yet been deposited on ORO, you can attach them as Word files when you submit, and again we’ll convert them to PDF for you before moving them across to the live repository.

    I hope this helps.


  7. TTNET ADSL Basvuru Says:

    Having established that all papers on ORO are published, I think what you probably mean by your first question is ‘what benefit is there to having an earlier version of a published paper on ORO when there is no journal reference that another researcher can cite?’

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