The status of your submitted manuscript will change to “in press” after the journal has fully accepted it for publication. In press means that the journal has now begun the process of formatting your manuscript into the journal layout and eventually printing the final version and making it available online.
During the “in press” stage you as the corresponding author should expect to receive journal proofs of the layout and formatting that the journal intends to use in the final publication. This is an opportunity for you to double check any errors in the paper such as in spelling (e.g. the names of all authors) and generally agree with the way the paper has been presented.
Note that at this stage you’re not allowed to make any major changes to the content from what was in the accepted manuscript. Ultimately the editor of the scientific journal will be the decision maker as to whether to accept all of the authors’ corrections or not in the final article.
If you do want to make any small changes to the accepted paper, then you may submit corrected proofs back to the journal which they will consider before finalising the final published version of the paper. It’s good practice to make a note of the page number in your correction comments to help the editor identify exactly where you want change to be made.
At this stage you may also have the opportunity to make your published article open access (for a fee). This means that anyone will be able to download and read your research without have to have a journal subscription. At the very least, most universities will encourage you to deposit a PDF file copy of your accepted article in the institutional repository, meaning that any within the university could access the paper.
Papers that are “in press” will generally not been linked with a specific journal issue number until all proofs have been corrected by the authors and the final version agreed. When the final version of the article is agreed and assigned to a specific journal volume or issue, the status of “in press” is removed.
A journal article that is “in press” has gone through the full peer review process and deemed acceptable for publication. You can reference or cite an in press article just as you would a paper that has been published within a specific journal issue. The only difference here is that you would write “in press” in place of the date in the citation format.
As always, the APA style is a good source to check on the correcting citation or reference formatting to use.