Version control, corrections, and retractions

Version control is the management of changes to a document, file, or dataset. Versions may include: draft, preprint, ending publication, author accepted manuscript (AAM), version of record (VOR), updated or corrected, and even retracted.

  • Draft
  • Preprint - early draft or manuscript shared by researcher in a preprint repository or dedicated channel (outside of a specific journal)
  • Pending publication (PP) - a manuscript which has been accepted but has not yet been published online
  • Advanced online publication or ahead of print (AOP) - early release of publication which publisher makes available to readers on their platform (prior to typesetting or before final published form)
  • Author accepted manuscript (AAM) - accepted version which has been peer reviewed but not typeset or copyedited
  • Version of record (VoR) - typeset, copyedited, and published version
  • Updated - adding supplementary data or making corrections to the file, or its retraction.

Version control is important for:

  • traceability (following the development of the document),
  • identifiability (connecting documents to decisions, contributions, contributors, and time),
  • clarity (distinguishing between multiple versions of documents, and identifying the latest version),
  • reduced duplication (removing out-of-date versions), and
  • reduced errors (clearly indicating to readers which is the current version).

Reading list

Publication stages and DOIs

How do I decide if I should assign a DOI to a work, and at what stage? This table sets out seven publication stages of a research object (a publication such as a journal article, book, or dataset). A work may not go through all of these seven stages, so you only need to consider the stages relevant to your publication.

Publication stageEligible for a DOI?Which DOI?
1 DraftNo DOI for draft itemn/a
2 PreprintYesDOI A
3 Pending publication (PP)YesDOI B
4 Advanced online publication/ahead of print (AOP)YesDOI B
5 Author accepted manuscript (AAM)YesDOI B
6 Version of record (VoR)YesDOI B
7 UpdatedYesDOI C
  • A DOI should not be assigned to a draft (unpublished) work.
  • A preprint should have its own DOI (DOI A).
  • Accepted versions (including PP, AOP, AAM, and VoR) should have a separate DOI (DOI B). Establish a relationship between DOI B and DOI A to show the connection between them, such as DOI B “hasPreprint” DOI A.
  • In the case of a significant change to the published version, a notice should be published explaining the correction/update/retraction. The updated version should have a new DOI (DOI C). Updates should only be deposited for changes that are likely to affect the interpretation or crediting of the work (editorially significant changes), and instead of simply asserting a relationship, these should be recorded as updates.

The metadata for the update is part of the Crossmark section of the metadata, and should include a link to the item being updated, and the type of update:

<update type="retraction" label="Retraction" date="2009-09-14">10.5555/12345678</update>

Note that you don’t need to use all aspects of Crossmark to register updates.

Page owner: Patricia Feeney   |   Last updated 2023-April-15