Confused about the difference?
Pre-prints are manuscripts written by the authors which either have not yet been submitted to a journal for peer review, or was the first version of the article submitted before peer review. It generally has a form which had no influence from the journal or publisher. Pre-prints can have differences in substance between the final published version, including the title, abstract, article text, and even the research results presented. They usually are not professionally formatted and are written in common word processing software such as Microsoft Word, LaTeX, or Google Docs. LAPSE accepts PDFs of pre-prints to ensure universal readability.
LAPSE is a great place to submit pre-prints, making your research public before it completes the peer review process. However, different journals have different policies about submitting manuscripts which have been made public as a pre-print prior to publication. Some allow this as normal practice. Others require the author to meet certain criteria such as notifying the editor in the cover letter when submitting to a journal that the article has been posted to a pre-print server such as LAPSE. Some journals will not consider manuscripts which have been submitted to a pre-print server at all. Those that do usually require the authors to update their pre-prints with a link to the publisher’s version of the article via its DOI (you can do this in LAPSE easily). Authors are required to understand and follow the pre-print policies of the associated journals.
Post-prints are the version of a research article’s manuscript that was accepted for publication, but has not yet been formatted by the journal for publication. Post-prints have only minor differences of substance from the final published version, typically involving formatting, spelling, grammar, or typography. Like pre-prints, post-prints are typically written in Word, LaTeX, Google Docs, or other common word processing software, and are not professionally formatted. LAPSE accepts PDFs only of post-prints.
Some funding agencies that require research to be published open-access will allow the deposit of post-prints into a repository such as LAPSE in lieu of paying for open access fees. However, embargos often apply. Authors are required to follow all journal policies with regard to post-prints.
Published articles are typically the PDF of the final published version of a journal article. Although currently most published articles cannot be submitted to LAPSE because of copyright restrictions, some articles are permitted by the publisher’s policy. These are typically articles in open-access journals or articles for which the authors or funding agency has paid for open-access privileges.