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In
academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal articles, books or thesis' form. The part of academic written output that is not formally ...
, a preprint is a version of a scholarly or
scientific paper : ''For a broader class of literature, see Academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing Publishing is the activity of making information, literature, music, software and other content available to the public for sa ...
that precedes formal peer review and publication in a
peer-review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (:wiktionary:peer#Etymology 2, peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within th ...
ed scholarly or
scientific journal In academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal articles, books or thesis' form. The part of academic written ...
. The preprint may be available, often as a non-typeset version available free, before or after a paper is published in a journal.


History

Since 1991, preprints have increasingly been distributed electronically on the
Internet The Internet (or internet) is the global system of interconnected computer networks that uses the Internet protocol suite (TCP/IP) to communicate between networks and devices. It is a ''internetworking, network of networks'' that consist ...

Internet
, rather than as paper copies. This has given rise to massive preprint databases such as
arXiv arXiv (pronounced "archive"—the X represents the Chi (letter), Greek letter chi is an open-access repository of electronic preprints and postprints (known as e-prints) approved for posting after moderation, but not Scholarly peer review, ...
and
HAL (open archive) HAL is an open archive where authors can deposit scholarly documents from all academia, academic fields. It has a good position in the international web repository ranking. HAL is run by the ''Centre pour la communication scientifique directe'' ...
etc. to
institutional repositories An institutional repository is an archive for collecting, preserving, and disseminating digital copies of the intellectual output of an institution, particularly a research institution.Van de Sompel, H & Lagoze, C. (2000. ''D-lib Magazine'', 6(2). ...
. The sharing of preprints goes back to at least the 1960s, when the
National Institutes of Health The National Institutes of Health (NIH ) is the primary agency of the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the United States ...
circulated biological preprints. After six years the use of these Information Exchange Groups was stopped, partially because journals stopped accepting submissions shared via these channels. In 2017, the
Medical Research CouncilMedical Research Council may refer to: * Medical Research Council (Ireland), forerunner of the Health Research Board * Medical Research Council (United Kingdom), responsible for coordinating and funding medical research in the United Kingdom. * Nati ...
stopped supporting preprints, and
Wellcome Trust The Wellcome Trust is a charitable foundation focused on health research based in London, in the United Kingdom. It was established in 1936 with legacies from the pharmaceutical magnate Henry Wellcome to fund research to improve human and animal ...
started accepting preprints in grant applications. In February 2017, a coalition of scientists and biomedical funding bodies including the
National Institutes of Health The National Institutes of Health (NIH ) is the primary agency of the United States government The federal government of the United States (U.S. federal government or U.S. government) is the national government of the United States ...
, the Medical Research Council and the Wellcome Trust launched a proposal for a central site for life-sciences preprints. In February 2017,
SciELO SciELO (Scientific Electronic Library Online) is a bibliographic database, digital library, and cooperative electronic publishing model of open access journals. SciELO was created to meet the scientific communication needs of developing countries ...
announced plans to set up a preprints server – SciELO Preprints. In March 2017, the National Institutes for Health issued a new policy encouraging research preprint submissions. In April 2017, Center for Open Science announced that it will be launching six new preprint archives. At the end of the 2010s, libraries and discovery tools increasingly integrate
Unpaywall OurResearch, formerly known as ImpactStory, is a nonprofit organization A nonprofit organization (NPO), also known as a non-business entity, not-for-profit organization, or nonprofit institution, is a legal entity organized and operated for a ...
data, which indexes millions of preprints and other
green open access Self-archiving is the act of (the author's) depositing a free copy of an electronic document World Wide Web, online in order to provide Open access (publishing), open access to it. The term usually refers to the self-archiving of peer review, peer- ...
sources and manages to serve over half of the requests by users without the need for subscriptions. During the early months of the
COVID-19 pandemic The COVID-19 pandemic is an ongoing global pandemic A pandemic (from , , "all" and , , "local people" the 'crowd') is an of an that has spread across a large region, for instance multiple or worldwide, affecting a substantial numbe ...

COVID-19 pandemic
, the need for published research on the disease spurred a wave of research articles being released as preprints, bypassing the peer-review and publication process, which was proving too slow in the context of an active and novel pandemic. The release of COVID-related preprint articles, along with other COVID-related articles published by traditional journals, contributed to the largest ever single-year increase in scholarly articles.


Role


Academic practices

Publication of manuscripts in a peer-reviewed journal often takes weeks, months or even years from the time of initial submission, owing to the time required by editors and reviewers to evaluate and critique manuscripts, and the time required by authors to address critiques. The need to quickly circulate current results within a scholarly community has led researchers to distribute documents known as preprints, which are manuscripts that have yet to undergo
peer review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant . Peer review methods ar ...
. The immediate distribution of preprints allows authors to receive early
feedback Feedback occurs when outputs of a system are routed back as inputs as part of a chain Image:Kettenvergleich.jpg, Roller chains A chain is a wikt:series#Noun, serial assembly of connected pieces, called links, typically made of metal, with ...
from their peers, which may be helpful in revising and preparing articles for submission. Preprint are also used to demonstrate the precedence of the discoveries and a way to protect the intellectual property (a prompt availability of the discovery can be used to block patenting or discourage competing parties). Most publishers allow work to be published to preprint servers before submission. A minority of publishers decide on a case-by-case basis or interpret the Ingelfinger Rule to disqualify from submission. Yet, many journals prohibit or discourage the use of preprints in the references as they are not considered as credible sources. Some journal-independent review services ( Peerage of Science, Peer Community In, Review Commons,
eLife ''eLife'' is a selective, not for profit peer-reviewed Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work ( peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified member ...
Preprint Review) offer
peer review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within the relevant . Peer review methods ar ...
on preprints. These peer-reviews are either a first step before publication in a journal (Peerage of Science, Review Commons, eLife Preprint Review) or result in a formal editorial decision (Peer Community In) without precluding submission in journals.


Stages of printing

While a preprint is an article that has not yet undergone peer review, a
postprint File:ENEURO.0483-18.2019 page4 Accepted Manuscript.jpg, Example of a page from an ''eNeuro'' accepted manuscript, 2019 A postprint is a digital draft of a academic journal, research journal article ''after'' it has been peer reviewed and accepted f ...
is an article which has been peer reviewed in preparation for publication in a journal. Both the preprint and postprint may differ from the final published version of an article. Preprints and postprints together are referred to as e-prints or
eprint In academic publishing Academic publishing is the subfield of publishing which distributes academic research and scholarship. Most academic work is published in academic journal articles, books or thesis' form. The part of academic written o ...
s. The word
reprint A reprint is a re-publication of material that has already been previously published. The term ''reprint'' is used with slightly different meanings in several fields. Academic publishing In academic publishing, offprint, offprints, sometimes also ...

reprint
refers to hard copies of papers that have already been published; reprints can be produced by the journal publisher, but can also be generated from digital versions (for example, from an electronic database of peer-reviewed journals), or from eprints
self-archived Self-archiving is the act of (the author's) depositing a free copy of an electronic document World Wide Web, online in order to provide Open access (publishing), open access to it. The term usually refers to the self-archiving of peer review, peer- ...
by their authors in their institutional repositories.


Tenure and promotion

In academia, preprints are not likely to be weighed heavily when a scholar is evaluated for tenure or promotion, unless the preprint becomes the basis for a peer-reviewed publication. Some important results in mathematics have been published only on the preprint server
arXiv arXiv (pronounced "archive"—the X represents the Chi (letter), Greek letter chi is an open-access repository of electronic preprints and postprints (known as e-prints) approved for posting after moderation, but not Scholarly peer review, ...
. After nearly a century of effort by mathematicians, between 2002 and 2003 the mathematician
Grigori Perelman Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman ( rus, links=no, Григорий Яковлевич Перельман, p=ɡrʲɪˈɡorʲɪj ˈjakəvlʲɪvʲɪtɕ pʲɪrʲɪlʲˈman, a=Ru-Grigori Yakovlevich Perelman.oga; born 13 June 1966) is a Russian mathematici ...
published a series of preprint papers on the
arXiv arXiv (pronounced "archive"—the X represents the Chi (letter), Greek letter chi is an open-access repository of electronic preprints and postprints (known as e-prints) approved for posting after moderation, but not Scholarly peer review, ...
where he presented a proof of the
Poincaré conjecture In mathematics, the Poincaré conjecture (, , ) is a theorem about the Characterization (mathematics), characterization of the 3-sphere, which is the hypersphere that bounds the unit ball in four-dimensional space. The conjecture states: An equ ...
. Perelman was offered both the prestigious $1 million Millennium Prize and the
Fields Medal The Fields Medal is a prize awarded to two, three, or four mathematician A mathematician is someone who uses an extensive knowledge of mathematics Mathematics (from Ancient Greek, Greek: ) includes the study of such topics as quantity ...
for the mentioned work published exclusively on arXiv, but he declined both prizes.


Advantages of preprints

The advantages of preprints can be summarized as: prompt dissemination of outcomes, contributes to free flow of information, increase chances of early feedback and comments, increase number of citations, chances of academic collaborations, make authors enthusiastic, may reduce
predatory publishing Predatory publishing (also write-only publishing or deceptive publishing) is an exploitative academic publishing business model that involves charging publication fees to authors without checking articles for quality and legitimacy, and without ...
, increases transparency, may publish negative outcomes and controversies, may receive
DOI DOI or Doi may refer to: Science and technology * Digital object identifier, an international standard for document identification * Distinctness of image, a quantification of vision used in optics * 2,5-Dimethoxy-4-iodoamphetamine, a hallucinogeni ...
, link to
ORCID The ORCID (; Open Researcher and Contributor ID) is a nonproprietary alphanumeric Alphanumericals are a combination of alphabetical and wiktionary:numerical, numerical Character (symbol), characters, and is used to describe the collection of ...
,
plagiarism Plagiarism is the representation of another author An author is the creator or originator of any written work such as a book or play, and is also considered a writer. More broadly defined, an author is "the person who originated or gave existe ...

plagiarism
check, chance to receive
grants Grant or Grants may refer to: Places *Grant County (disambiguation)Grant County may refer to: Places ;Australia * County of Grant, Victoria ;United States *Grant County, Arkansas *Grant County, Indiana *Grant County, Kansas *Grant County, K ...
and awards, promotion of young researchers, early credit, good place for
hypothesis A hypothesis (plural hypotheses) is a proposed explanation An explanation is a set of statements usually constructed to describe a set of facts which clarifies the causes, context Context may refer to: * Context (language use), the rel ...
, and early detection of science misconduct.


Disadvantages of preprints

The disadvantages of preprints could be summarized as: lack of
peer-review Peer review is the evaluation of work by one or more people with similar competencies as the producers of the work (:wiktionary:peer#Etymology 2, peers). It functions as a form of self-regulation by qualified members of a profession within th ...
, absence of quality (in controversy), concerns about premature data, media coverage without robust evaluation, risk of double citation (by publishing a peer- reviewed article, the preprint may also be cited), lack of ethical and statistical guidelines, lack of respect for
COPE , Ghent Ghent ( ; nl, Gent}, ; french: Gand, ; traditional English: Gaunt) is a city and a municipality A municipality is usually a single administrative division having Municipal corporation, corporate status and powers of self-govern ...
or
ICMJE The ICMJE recommendations (full title, "Recommendations for the Conduct, Reporting, Editing, and Publication of Scholarly Work in Medical Journals") are a set of guidelines produced by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors for stand ...
guidelines, breach of
intellectual property Intellectual property (IP) is a category of property Property is a system of rights that gives people legal control of valuable things, and also refers to the valuable things themselves. Depending on the nature of the property, an owner of ...
regulations in some countries, possible harm to health in certain cases, information overload, breach of Ingelfinger rule (a strategy conducted to discourage dissemination of research reports before they are published in the journal), rush to post low-quality research.


Types of preprint servers

The preprint servers can be grouped in three categories: general (accepting practically all preprints, frequently with bias towards some topic, publisher e.g.
Authorea Authorea is an online In computer technology and telecommunications, online indicates a state of connectivity, and offline indicates a disconnected state. In modern terminology this usually refers to an Internet connection, but (especially whe ...
), field-specific (e.g.
bioRxiv bioRxiv (pronounced "bio-archive") is an open access Open access (OA) is a set of principles and a range of practices through which research Research is "creativity, creative and systematic work undertaken to increase the stock of kn ...
, ChemRxiv) and regional (e.g.
AfricArxivAfricArXiv is an open-access repository for preprints of academic publications which are either about Africa or by African scientists. The platform was established in 2018. It was established to make preprint servers more available in various field ...
, Arabixiv). Additionally, preprints can be categorised by the owner (private publishing company e.g. '' PeerJ PrePrints,'' libraries e.g. EarthArXiv, universities e.g.
arXiv arXiv (pronounced "archive"—the X represents the Chi (letter), Greek letter chi is an open-access repository of electronic preprints and postprints (known as e-prints) approved for posting after moderation, but not Scholarly peer review, ...
or independent non-profit organisations e.g.
HAL HAL may refer to: Aviation * Halali Airport (IATA airport code: HAL) Halali, Oshikoto, Namibia * Hawaiian Airlines (ICAO airline code: HAL) * HAL Bangalore Airport or HAL Airport, Bangalore, India * Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Businesses * HAL ...
). While many preprint servers appeared, some had been terminated. The canceled servers were operated mainly by profit publishing companies (e.g.
Nature Publishing Group Nature Portfolio (formerly known as Nature Publishing Group and Nature Research) is a division of the international scientific publishing Science (from the Latin word ''scientia'', meaning "knowledge") is a systematic enterprise that Scient ...
closed Nature Precedings or
O'Reilly O'Reilly ( ga, Ó Raghallaigh) is a group of families, ultimately all of Irish Gaelic origin, who were historically the kings of East Bréifne in what is today County Cavan. The clan were part of the Connachta's Uí Briúin Bréifne kindred a ...
& SAGE closed PeerJ PrePrints) or were regional (e.g. INArxiv limited to Indonesia). Moreover, multiple writing platforms (e.g.
Authorea Authorea is an online In computer technology and telecommunications, online indicates a state of connectivity, and offline indicates a disconnected state. In modern terminology this usually refers to an Internet connection, but (especially whe ...
) developed separate preprint servers as a part of their service. For more complete list (over 60 preprints servers) see: List of academic preprint repositories.


See also

*
Electronic article Electronic articles are article Article often refers to: * Article (grammar) An article is any member of a class of dedicated words that are used with noun phrases to mark the identifiability of the referents of the noun phrases. The category o ...
*
List of academic preprint servers This is a list of preprint repositories. __NOTOC__ Notes See also * List of academic journals by preprint policy * List of copyright policies of academic publishers External links ASAPBio's list of preprint servers References

{{refli ...
* List of academic journals by preprint policy *
Offprint An offprint is a separate printing of a work that originally appeared as part of a larger publication, usually one of composite authorship such as an academic journal, magazine, or edited book.Carter, John, and Nicolas Barker. (2004) ''ABC for Book ...
*
PrepressPrepress is the term used in the printing Printing is a process for mass reproducing text and images using a master form or template. The earliest non-paper products involving printing include cylinder seals and objects such as the Cyrus Cylin ...
* ScientificCommons


References


External links

* Eysenbach G.
The impact of preprint servers and electronic publishing on biomedical research
. ''Curr Opin Immunol.'' 2000 Oct;12(5):499–503 * Eysenbach G.
Challenges and changing roles for medical journals in the cyberspace age: Electronic pre-prints and e-papers
. ''J Med Internet Res'' 1999;1(2):e9
Electronic Preprints and Postprints
in ''Encyclopedia of Library and Information Science''. Marcel Dekker. * Inefuku, Harrison W.
Pre-Print, Post-Print or Offprint? A Guide to publication versions, permissions and the digital repository.
Ames, IA: Digital Repository @ Iowa State University, 14 January 2013.
Journal policies on preprints
from Nature Precedings forum

as defined by
SHERPA (organisation) SHERPA (Securing a Hybrid Environment for Research Preservation and Access) is an organisation originally set up in 2002 to run and manage the SHERPA Project. History SHERPA began as an endeavour to support the establishment of a number of open ac ...

Preprint, Postprint
as defined by
Crossref Crossref (formerly styled CrossRef) is an official Digital Object Identifier (DOI) Registration Agency of the International DOI Foundation. It is run by the Publishers International Linking Association Inc. (PILA) and was launched in early 2000 as ...

Preprint FAQ
by ASAPbio. {{Authority control Academic publishing Scientific documents Publications by format Publishing Grey literature Academic journal articles