Pulling it all together
Now that you know the copyright policies of your publisher or journal,
which version of the manuscript will you self-archive? Recall that there are three basic versions of every manuscript:
Submitted version ("preprint")
Accepted version ("postprint")
Published or final version ("offprint")
The following steps are general guidelines for archiving submitted, accepted, and published versions of your manuscripts. You may need to adapt them based on the information you found in the copyright policies in Step 2.
If allowed to archive the submitted version or "preprint"
Attach a preprint notice to the first page of your submitted manuscript, for example:
This manuscript is in submission for publication. It has not yet been peer reviewed.
Post the submitted manuscript to a preprint server.
Post the preprint citation, DOI link, and submitted version to your personal website or university repository.
If allowed to archive the accepted version or "postprint"
Attach a user license to the first page of your accepted manuscript, for example:
This is the accepted version of an article published by [Publisher] in [Journal], © [Year], [Volume (Issue)], [Page Range]. It is available online at [DOI] and is made available here with the permission of [Publisher]. Licensed under the Creative Commons [license details and URL, if applicable].
Post the full citation, DOI link, and accepted version to your personal website or university repository.
If allowed to archive the published version
Some (but not many) publishers allow you to archive the published version of your manuscript. If the journal policy states this is allowed:
Post the full citation, DOI link, and publisher PDF to your personal website or university repository.
Best practices for uploading and linking journal articles
DOI vs URL
A DOI is a "digital object identifier", and is your journal article's permanent online location/identifier. Always direct people to your original article with the DOI (found on the publisher's article page), not the URL (the web address, which can change if the publisher makes any website updates).
These are the same journal article! But the URL can be broken, while the DOI can't.
Linking to the free version vs article of record
Always, always, always link to your journal article with its DOI. That's the only way you'll be able to:
Show people where the original is, and
Properly measure traffic to it (e.g. via Altmetric).
We recommend that if you're creating a professional website, your article be linked with the DOI, and the free (possibly "unofficial") version be a separate link that says something like free version.
What if I prefer for people to just email me instead?
Requiring clinicians to email when they want a paper puts a barrier between the science and clinical practice.
It also makes the work of science communicators, who are trying to direct people to your work, much more difficult.
How will people find my uploaded articles?
Most people will Google the title of your paper. So as long as that text is on your webpage, you're all set!