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When you submit your article to us, we ask you to confirm that your work is original, previously unpublished and is not currently under submission elsewhere, with the exception of some preprints, conference papers and theses.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 quickly share their research.

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

  • It clearly identifies preprints as non-peer reviewed works;
  • It asks authors to disclose all relationships and activities that might bias or be seen to bias their work;
  • Is it a commercial or non-commercial preprint server? Many journals (including Emerald journals) will not republish papers published on a commercial preprint server;
  • If the server requires you to complete a licence agreement to make a deposit, ensure you fully understand the rights you are giving to the platform, and if any limitations are imposed for future use of your work;
  • Review any copyright or preprint policies at your institution and funder to ensure the preprint deposit is allowed.

Submitting a preprint to an Emerald journal

If you have already uploaded your research to a non-commercial preprint server, you may still submit the article to an Emerald journal and we will not consider it as prior publication, provided you meet the following criteria:

  • you make it clear to the editor of the journal on submission that the work is already hosted on a preprint server
  • you have not assigned copyright in the work to the preprint server or uploaded your work to the server under a Creative Commons Licence (any licence beginning CC).

We do not consider ResearchGate or SSRN preprint servers.

We would not consider a paper for publication if it had previously been uploaded to either of these sites.

The preprint landscape is constantly changing so if, having read our policy, you still have an outstanding query about whether you can submit your paper, please contact us.

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).

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 article.

What to do on acceptance

If your submitted paper is accepted for publication by Emerald, we expect you to add the Digital Object Identifier (DOI) to the preprint and also amend it to state:

'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 of the preprint server 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.'

Upon publication, the DOI will point readers to the final published article on Emerald Insight.

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.
  • Your submitted paper is substantially developed from the conference paper, either with further discussion or a different conclusion.
  • Copyright has not been assigned to the conference organisers and the work has not been published under a Creative Commons Licence (any licence beginning CC).
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 please get in touch with us before you submit your paper, with details of the licence you signed with the publisher.

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.


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?

When a thesis has been deposited in a repository (which is openly searchable and downloadable) and an author wants to submit all or part of it for publication as an article, the process of anonymised peer review is potentially compromised.

Therefore, we ask authors to substantially develop the paper from their existing work and declare the existence of their uploaded thesis to the Editor of the journal so that they may make an informed decision.

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

Related topics

Author policies

We have a series of author policies on your rights, article withdrawal or permissions.

Read our author policies

Find a journal

Search more than 300 Emerald titles, you can find the right match for your research.

Search our journals

Our editorial policy

We welcome submissions for consideration which are original and not under consideration for any other publication at the same time. Read our editorial policy and originality guidelines.

Read our policy