Society of Exploration Geophysicists updates preprint policy

Authors gain expanded options for posting

SEG has updated its policy on preprints by extending to authors of manuscripts under review with Society publications the right to post their unreviewed work on noncommercial preprint servers. Posting manuscripts to preprint servers no longer is regarded by Society editorial leaders as prior publication — which usually eliminates a work from consideration for publication — following approval of the policy update submitted by the Publications Committee and approved by the SEG Board of Directors at its April meeting.

 “With this policy update, SEG can better meet the needs of researchers who are seeking earlier exposure of their research reports,” said Ted Bakamjian, Associate Executive Director, Publications and Community Engagement.

The change in policy applies to papers submitted to Geophysics, InterpretationThe Leading Edge, and the SEG Annual Meeting Technical Program. Authors previously were permitted to post preprints only on their own websites or websites operated by the institutions with which they are affiliated. 

Under the new policy, authors who post manuscripts to a preprint server should choose a noncommercial server or a collaboration network that adheres to the International Association of Scientific, Technical, and Medical (STM) Publishers’ voluntary principles for scholarly article sharing. Suitable noncommercial servers include the Earth and Space Science Open Archive (ESSOAr), arXiv, and EarthArXiv.

“In the world of digital transformation, where scientists are collaborating faster and accessing public knowledge on a much larger scale, allowing more preprint options will have a great appeal to the SEG membership,” said Baishali Roy, SEG Vice President, Publications. “This is especially true for the groups working research and development and applications of machine learning and artificial intelligence on geophysical problems, a rapidly developing field.”

The policy states that authors must retain copyright in their manuscript when posting it and should not grant an exclusive license to the preprint server or any other entity. SEG cannot publish works in which copyright previously has been assigned.

Also, authors should not post as preprints revisions of their manuscripts that build on peer review provided by SEG editors and reviewers, and they should not post a final accepted manuscript or a final published version to a preprint server unless they have published their work with SEG on a gold open-access basis or otherwise are posting in compliance with SEG’s Open Access Policy, available at

Authors should provide notice in metadata associated with a preprint posting an Indication that a manuscript is under review with an SEG publication. SEG, however, does not endorse the contents of any preprint even if it subsequently publishes a work developed from the preprint with the benefit of peer review.

The complete updated preprint policy is available at

The SEG Board also approved two other proposals submitted by the Publications Committee. One was to support the position that journal impact factors should be considered only alongside a wide range of other inputs when institutions make research assessments related to advancement and grant bestowal. In alignment with this position, the Society has become a signatory to the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment (DORA). The other endorsement was to enhance punitive-action procedures within the Ethical Guidelines for SEG Publications, expanding guidance regarding suspension of publication privileges for violations of the guidelines, notification protocols, appeal options, and recidivism measures.