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Many authors and readers share journal and book content with others. Some of the most common ways that content is shared are:

  • Emailing a PDF to colleagues.
  • Posting a PDF on a personal website or institutional website.
  • Archiving a PDF in an institutional repository.
  • Posting a PDF in a social sharing site such as ResearchGate,, or SSRN.
  • Posting a link which can take readers to, for example, the published version, a free-to-read version as provided by their publisher, or to some other copy of the work.

CUP broadly supports social sharing

Social sharing is a necessary part of research. It helps to disseminate and raise awareness about new findings and to stimulate discussion and further progress. It can also help researchers to build their reputations and to connect with other researchers. Social sharing is developing rapidly, with new and improved services to enable content discovery and access. Researchers are sharing more and more, but content is not always shared in a responsible manner.

Why sharing must be performed responsibly

Authors, readers, and others in the research community rely on high-quality publications with authoritative content to disseminate research findings and to generate impact. These publications require a substantial amount of effort to produce. When content is shared publicly, it is important that the sharing does not undermine the ability of the publications to be remain commercially viable. If sharing leads to high quality journals and books no longer being published, then research will suffer.

CUP policies for what content can be shared and how

Cambridge University Press, along with other publishers, has policies that are carefully designed to balance the needs of content sharing with the commercial realities of producing the content. For specific information, see our Green Open Access policies for journals, books, and Elements.

To help protect the continued viability of our publications, we typically limit the public posting of final versions of content (the so-called Version of Records), and instead we allow a near-final version (the Accepted Manuscript) to be posted. For some content, we have embargo periods for the public posting of Accepted Manuscripts.

CUP does support authors posting their Submitted Manuscripts (or earlier drafts) publically. This is commonly done, for example, in pre-print servers such as and, but can also be in commercial social sharing sites.

Because social sharing is a rapidly evolving topic, CUP appreciates that we, along with other publishers, must continue developing our services and policies.

Authors who find our sharing policies too restrictive can opt to publish Gold Open Access, which is another way of allowing content to be freely redistributed and re-used without undermining the source publication.

Further information about social sharing

CUP endorses the following two sites:

How Can I Share It?
A cross-industry initiative to raise awareness about sharing and to help authors location information about what they can share.

STM Association's Voluntary Principles on Article Sharing

A cross-industry initiative to help guide ongoing conversations and new services that encourage responsible social sharing.