Prior publication – preprints, conference papers & theses

When you submit your article to us, we ask you to confirm that your work is original, previously unpublished and is not currently under submission elsewhere, with the exception of some preprints, conference papers and theses. Read our policies on these here.

Preprint policy

Uploading a preprint has become an increasingly common way for researchers in many disciplines to share their research quickly.

When uploading to a preprint server, we would recommend you check that:

  • The server clearly identifies preprints as non-peer reviewed works.
  • The server asks authors to disclose all relationships and activities that might bias or be seen to bias their work.
  • If the server requires you to complete a licence agreement to make a deposit, you fully understand the rights you are giving to the platform, and if any limitations are imposed for the future use of your work.
  • You have reviewed any copyright or preprint policies at your institution and funder to ensure the preprint deposit is allowed.


Submitting a preprint to an Emerald journal

Emerald will consider papers for publication that have been posted to a preprint server before they are submitted to Emerald.

However, we can only consider papers where you have not assigned copyright or signed an exclusive licence when posting your work to a preprint server. 

When submitting a paper to Emerald that has been shared to a preprint server, we ask that you make it clear to the editor of the journal on submission that the work is already hosted on a preprint server.

If the article is accepted for publication, Emerald will assign the paper a new DOI. Authors can update the information on the preprint server as follows:

"This paper has been accepted for publication in [JOURNAL TITLE], published by Emerald Publishing Limited."

Once the article is published on Emerald Insight, you can add the following acknowledgement to the information regarding your paper on the preprint server, to encourage others to read and cite the final published version of your article:

"This is an original manuscript of an article published by Emerald Publishing Limited in [JOURNAL TITLE] on [date of publication], available online: [Article DOI]."


Frequently asked questions

When can I post my work on a preprint server?

Authors may post the submitted version of their paper to a preprint server prior to or at the same time as submitting it to an Emerald journal. However, we do not permit posting on a preprint server after the paper is accepted by a journal and we do not permit updating of a preprint with versions of the paper revised during peer review. Please see our author rights policy for details of how you can share your Emerald work after publication and the choice of two deposit licences we offer (including CC BY NC).

How will the preprint be referenced in the published article?

The preprint will be referenced in the Acknowledgements of the published article.

How can Emerald ensure peer review anonymity?

Wherever possible, we will take steps to maintain your anonymity through the anonymised peer review process, for example, by asking editors to remove any reference to the preprint before sharing the paper with reviewers. Please ensure the preprint is not mentioned in the text of the paper itself.

Before submitting a preprint or conference paper, please ask yourself these questions:

  • Have I checked the licence used to share the preprint or publish the conference paper?
  •  Have I alerted the editor to the existing preprint or conference paper?


Conference papers policy

Over the course of your research career, we understand that you will submit working papers and conference papers that may be hosted online.

This doesn’t prevent you from submitting that work to our journals; we don’t expect that paper to be removed from the conference website, as we appreciate that publication in a journal will enable your article to reach an audience that the conference paper did not previously reach.

However, this policy only applies if:

  • You notify the Emerald editor when you submit to the journal that your paper is hosted on a publicly available conference website and give details of where the conference paper was published.
  • you have not assigned copyright or signed an exclusive licence to publish with the conference organisers.

Peer review anonymity

Wherever possible, we will take steps to maintain your anonymity through the anonymised peer review process. It is crucial that you declare the inclusion of the paper in conference proceedings when you submit to the journal. To ensure the integrity of the peer review process, you may be asked by the journal editor to remove any reference to the conference before the editor shares your paper with reviewers.

Published conference papers

If your paper has been published in a conference proceedings volume or a publication that has been assigned an ISSN or ISBN, then we would expect the existing paper to be developed before submission to Emerald. You will also need to notify the editor of the journal of the details of the previous publication and check you have not assigned copyright or signed an exclusive licence to publish with the publication.  

If your paper is currently under submission to a conference, please wait until you have had a decision from the conference organisers before submitting your work to Emerald

Presenting a poster or an abstract at a conference

Including an abstract or a poster presented at a conference in your paper submitted to Emerald will generally not affect the paper's eligibility for publication. However, you should flag the reuse to the editor of the journal when submitting your paper.

Before submitting a preprint or conference paper, please ask yourself these questions:
  • Have I checked the licence used to share the preprint or publish the conference paper?
  • Have I alerted the editor to the existing preprint or conference paper?


We are happy for submissions to Emerald to include work that has previously formed part of your PhD or other academic thesis.

However, please bear in mind the following points when preparing to submit a paper based on your thesis to any of our journals.

Does Emerald expect a thesis to be embargoed until any resulting articles have been published?

No, we do not expect a thesis to be embargoed – once an article has been submitted to an Emerald journal, we are happy for authors to include the submitted version of their paper in their thesis in both print and electronic formats, subject to full referencing. Authors can do this at any point in the submission/publication process. If the article is accepted, authors just need to update the reference to include ‘forthcoming in…’.

Once the article has been published on Emerald Insight, we permit the published PDF to be included in the printed thesis and the Author Accepted Manuscript to be used in the digital version.

Please include the following statement on the first page of your reprinted article:

'This article is © [insert the copyright line of the published article] and permission has been granted for this version to appear here [please insert the web address where the electronic version of your dissertation will be hosted here]. Emerald does not grant permission for this article to be further copied/distributed or hosted elsewhere without the express permission from Emerald Publishing Limited.'

My thesis is deposited in my publicly accessible university repository – can I still submit a paper based on my thesis to an Emerald journal?

Yes, you can. Please submit your paper in the usual way but declare the existence of the uploaded thesis to the Editor of the journal. If the Editor wished to consider the paper further, the paper would go through our standard anonymised peer-review process..

My thesis is written in the ‘papers’ format and I have submitted a paper to Emerald – when can I deposit my thesis into my university repository?

Writing a thesis as a series of separate, publishable, papers, rather than in the traditional monograph format, is increasingly common. The papers are written to a publishable standard but do not have to have been accepted for publication by a journal.

If a 'papers' thesis is submitted as a PhD and then a verbatim paper taken from the thesis submitted to Emerald, we ask that the thesis is only deposited in your university repository once the article has been accepted for publication.

 If you are submitting papers taken from the same thesis to multiple publishers, you should consult other journals’ policies prior to depositing your thesis.

Get in touch

We understand that the issues around prior publication can be complicated and in flux. If you have any questions about our policies, please speak to your publishing contact or get in touch.

Contact us

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Author policies

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Our editorial policy

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