OSF GuidesPreprints Help GuidesHow to Prepare Your Preprint

How to Prepare Your Preprint

Follow these five steps to prepare your preprint for submission.

1. Choose a preprint server

PsyArXiv, SocArXiv, LawArXiv, Thesis Commons, and several others have partnered with OSF Preprints to support preprint sharing across different disiplines. You should upload your preprint to whichever preprint server best fits your topic and the community that you would like to reach. If there isn’t a community-driven preprint server for your discipline, OSF Preprints is available for any discipline.

Browse through the list of preprint servers on the OSF Preprints homepage.

2. Prepare your preprint file

You should have your preprint in an easily accessible file.

When you submit your preprint, you can choose to connect your preprint to one of your existing OSF projects or components. You can also choose to use one of the files already uploaded to the project or component for your preprint.

If you choose not to connect your preprint to one of your existing OSF projects or components, a new OSF project will be automatically created to connect to your preprint. The connected OSF project enables you to upload supplemental files, code, etc. to your preprint.  

Since preprints are always public and can't be taken down, make sure that you’ve removed any personal information from your preprint that you don’t want to share with a public audience.

3. Choose disciplines

Decide which discipline(s) best fit your preprint. It's required to add one top-level discipline, and you can get more specific by adding subdisciplines.

The disciplines and subdisciplines available will vary by preprint server. To see the disciplines offered by OSF Preprints and the community preprint servers, you can browse the subject areas on each preprint server's "Search" page. See our Search and Discover Preprints help guide for instructions.

If you don't see your discipline, you can tag your preprint with your specific subject area(s).

4. Decide how you want to license your preprint

You're not required to license your preprint; however, adding a license helps you communicate how you want others to use your work.

The licenses available for OSF Preprints are CC-0 1.0 Universal and CC-By Attribution 4.0 International. These are open licenses. Additional licenses are available with some of the community preprint services.

When you license your preprint, you can choose to extend that license to the OSF project that's connected to your preprint. If you add supplemental files and/or code, you can license your OSF project separately from your preprint. There are more licensing options available for OSF projects.

Learn more about the different licenses at Creative Commons or choosealicense.com.

5. Write the abstract

Plan your abstract ahead of time, and make sure that it’s at least 20 characters long.

You can either type your abstract or copy and paste it into the textbox during the upload process. You can’t upload an abstract as a file.

6. Determine the authorship order

Communicate with your co-authors that you want to share your article as a preprint and determine the order in which you want the names to appear.