Welcome to Part 2 of our toolkit for making your collected scholarly work available online. Now that you’ve used Part 1 to create a list of publications that you want to put online, we’ll help you collect the digital copies of those publications. First we’ll describe two different versions of your publications and the benefits and drawbacks of each, so you can decide which version of each publication you want to use. Then we’ll describe some strategies for organizing your files as you collect them, keeping track of your progress, and searching for hard to locate publications.

Once you’ve built this collection and taken care of any necessary permissions (as described in Part 3), you will be well positioned to start uploading your files in Part 4.

Decide which version you prefer

When you first write a piece of scholarship, you own the copyright in your work and can do whatever you like with it. Once you sign an agreement with a publisher and publish that work, your rights change. You may transfer copyright ownership to the publisher, or even if you retain ownership, your rights to share your work may be very limited.

Publication contracts for short form works, especially journal articles, often specify what you can do with particular versions of that work. For the purposes of this project, we’re going to focus on two different versions: the accepted manuscript and the published version.

The author’s final accepted version, also called the author’s accepted manuscript (AAM), has some distinct benefits when it comes to making your work open access, but it also has some drawbacks. 

  • Under many publication agreements, authors retain the right to share the AAM in an open access repository without any further permission from publishers. Because of this, using the AAM may save you a significant amount of time and frustration in Part 3, Figuring out contracts & copyrights. (NOTE: for works written in 2014 or later, UC authors have the right to share their AAM in eScholarship, UC’s open access repository and publishing platform, regardless of the specifics of the publication agreement, with or without an embargo, as long as the author did not obtain a waiver. Read more about UC’s open access policies.)
  • The text of the AAM reflects all the changes made as part of the peer review process, but does not have the publisher’s formatting, headers, and pagination. Therefore, if you share an AAM, people will be able to access the full text of your article and read all your arguments and findings, but they may still want to find the published version elsewhere if they plan to cite it.
  • Unfortunately, many authors haven’t saved their AAMs, especially for older articles, or they’re not sure if the old version they have is the right one. The AAM will basically look like what you would get if you copied and pasted the text of the article from the journal into a Word document.
  • If you no longer have your author’s final version, you may be able to retrieve a copy from the review system used by the journal in which it was published, depending on the age of the article. A non-profit group has created a guide explaining how to download the AAM from some of the most commonly used journal systems. You can access the guide from the Open Access Button site.

The published version, or version of record (VOR) is the version of the work distributed by the publisher. It has the publisher’s formatting, pagination, heading, and figures. 

  • Many readers and authors prefer the VOR because it is clearly the final published version and can be cited, including reference to a particular page number.
  • Most authors find this the easiest version to collect, especially for older publications.
  • However, unless you published in open access journals (and sometimes even then), using the VOR requires permission in almost all cases. This involves a substantial amount of work, which we will cover in Part 3, Figuring out contracts & copyrights.

As you collect digital copies of the publications in your batch, you will need to keep track of which versions (AAM or VOR) you have of each publication. 

Name and organize your files

As you collect your publication files, give them useful names. Use shorthand or a nickname you have for the work, or a partial title, combined with the year and information about the version, at a minimum. This should help you select the right file when it’s time to upload them in Part 4, Putting work online. For example, “ExcerptOfTitle_JournalX_2007_AAM.docx” is more useful than “Lastname2007.docx,” especially when the last name will be common among many files.

You can save your files locally or in a service like Box, Dropbox, or Google Drive. Create a folder that contains just the batch of publications you’re currently working on, and give it a descriptive name, too. If you’re working with a large batch, think about whether having subfolders for smaller groups of publications will help you find things.

Track your files in your spreadsheet

Use your spreadsheet to keep track of which publications you have collected, where they are, and what they’re called. Here are two approaches you could take, but use what you think will work best for you.

  • If you think it is likely that you will  sometimes locate both the AAM and the VOR for the same article, add one column to your spreadsheet for AAM, and another column for VOR. For each article, add the filename (or the URL if you’re storing your files online in a service like Box) in the appropriate column. 
  • If you only anticipate collecting one version of each publication, add a single column for “file.” For each article, add the name of the file (or the URL if you’re storing your files online in a service like Box) in the appropriate row. If you’re only collecting VORs, that’s all you need. If you’re collecting AAMs and VORs, use your filenames or an additional column to indicate which one you have for each publication.

For publications where you’ve made progress but don’t have a digital file yet, you can use these cells to add notes like “have paper copy, need digital version” or “requested via interlibrary loan 6/1/2022.” Try to use the same wording for each publication with a similar status, so you can sort by this row to see how your collecting progress is going.

Locate hard to find publications

Hopefully, you have copies of many of your publications on your computer or in your paper files. If there are things in your current batch that you don’t already have copies of, you’ll have to collect them online or through the library.

Often, you can access a downloadable full text copy directly from Google Scholar. Just click on the title of a publication in your profile, and look for links in the top right corner of the publication’s page. There might be a link to a publisher site, to a repository at another university if one of your co-authors has already put the publication online, or a “Get it at UC” link. 

“Get it at UC” links integrate with your campus library’s subscriptions to provide you with the full text of publications. Google Scholar will display a “Get it at UC” link:

  • When you’re on campus,
  • When you’re connected by VPN (or however you usually access library resources from off campus), or
  • If you have added your campus to your “Library links” in your Google Scholar settings. The UC Berkeley and UCSF libraries have more detailed instructions about how to set up this connection.

If Google Scholar doesn’t have a link, you can use UC Library Search to find a copy of your publication, or request it using interlibrary loan. Using the citation information in your spreadsheet, search for each item. Download a copy of the publication, or borrow a paper copy to scan. If the library does not own a short form publication like a journal article or book chapter, but can get it by interlibrary loan, they will usually provide you with a digital copy. 

For tips on searching for publications, getting to full text, and using interlibrary loan, see the links below for your campus. Several campuses also have a “find by citation” option you can use to search efficiently when you know exactly what you’re looking for, and those links are also included here.

Anything you obtain through the library will be a VOR, so you will need to get permission from the copyright holder to post it online, as we’ll discuss in Part 3, Figuring out contracts & copyrights.

If you can’t find your publication using these tools, contact your campus library for help.