Reformatting author accepted manuscripts: a question

Uploading the author accepted manuscript to my institutional repository is now pretty much the first thing I do as soon as I have a new paper accepted (before even tweeting about it!). But – something which I have been thinking about this week, but had never really considered before – is the question, is it OK to reformat author accepted manuscripts/preprints for sharing?

Journal submission guidelines usually mean that the author has little leeway with formatting (e.g. must be 10 point Arial, double spaced text, that sort of thing). Some simple formatting tweaks would make things easier for the potential reader – for example, reducing the page count – and give the author more creative control over the presentation of the product of their hard work. But is this permissible? I’ve not got a definitive answer yet. For example, the Elsevier article sharing policy states that preprints and accepted manuscripts:

not be added to or enhanced in any way to appear more like, or to substitute for, the published journal article

My question is not motivated by wanting to imitate the formatting of the journal. But does this mean that it is OK to enhance a manuscript in a different way, such as applying your organisations’ in-house style guide, for example? I’d be very interested in hearing peoples’ views and experiences on this. Thanks!



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