Preprints and Scholarly Communication: An… | F1000Research

Abstract:  Background: Since 2013, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of preprint servers. Little is known about the position of researchers, funders, research performing organisations and other stakeholders with respect to this fast-paced landscape. In this article, we explore the perceived benefits and challenges of preprint posting, alongside issues including infrastructure and financial sustainability. We also discuss the definition of a ‘preprint’ in different communities, and the impact this has on uptake.

Methods: This study is based on 38 semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders, based on a purposive heterogeneous sampling approach and undertaken between October 2018 and January 2019. Interviewees were primarily drawn from biology, chemistry and psychology, where use of preprints is growing. Interviews were recorded, transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis to identify trends. Interview questions were designed based on Innovation Diffusion Theory, which was also used to interpret our results.

Results: Participants were conscious of the rising prominence of preprints and cited early and fast dissemination as their most appealing feature. Preprints were also considered to enable broader access to scientific literature and increased opportunities for informal commenting. The main concerns related to the lack of quality assurance and the ‘Ingelfinger rule’. We identified trust as an essential factor in preprint posting, and highlight the enabling role of Twitter in showcasing preprints.

Conclusions: The preprints landscape is evolving fast, and disciplinary communities are at different stages in the innovation diffusion process. The landscape is characterised by experimentation, which leads to the conclusion that a one-size-fits-all approach to preprints is not feasible. Cooperation and active engagement between the stakeholders involved will play an important role going forward. We share questions for the further development of the preprints landscape, with the most important being whether preprint posting will develop as a publisher- or researcher-centric practice.

Peer review and preprint policies are unclear at most major journals | bioRxiv

Abstract:  Clear and findable publishing policies are important for authors to choose appropriate journals for publication. We investigated the clarity of policies of 171 major academic journals across disciplines regarding peer review and preprinting. 31.6% of journals surveyed do not provide information on the type of peer review they use. Information on whether preprints can be posted or not is unclear in 39.2% of journals. 58.5% of journals offer no clear information on whether reviewer identities are revealed to authors. Around 75% of journals have no clear policy on co-reviewing, citation of preprints, and publication of reviewer identities. Information regarding practices of Open Peer Review is even more scarce, with <20% of journals providing clear information. Having found a lack of clear information, we conclude by examining the implications this has for researchers (especially early career) and the spread of open research practices.


Coronavirus Research Is Moving at Top Speed—With a Catch | WIRED

“Traditional journals have activated various emergency protocols to speed things up during the outbreak—faster publication cycles and dropped paywalls, primarily. Teams of scientists around the world are bypassing them anyway, communicating not only their early-days conclusions but also their methods and approaches. Researchers say this time the speed and sheer number of preprints has been unprecedented.

That’s good! Because it makes science faster and better, and it’s helping life scientists join other fields in embracing a new mode. But it’s also a little scary. Scientists aren’t the only ones who can download a preprint. That opens up the work to possible misunderstanding or misinterpretation….

It helps, too, that biomedical journals have gotten a lot clearer about their willingness to publish, after traditional review, articles that have already been out in the world via preprint servers. That wasn’t always the case….”

The prehistory of biology preprints: A forgotten experiment from the 1960s

Abstract:  In 1961, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began to circulate biological preprints in a forgotten experiment called the Information Exchange Groups (IEGs). This system eventually attracted over 3,600 participants and saw the production of over 2,500 different documents, but by 1967, it was effectively shut down following the refusal of journals to accept articles that had been circulated as preprints. This article charts the rise and fall of the IEGs and explores the parallels with the 1990s and the biomedical preprint movement of today.


Accelerating scholarly communication: The transformative role of preprints

“The overall objective of this study was to explore the place of preprints in the research lifecycle from the points of view of researchers, research performing organisations, research funding organisations and preprint servers/ service providers. Our investigation covered:

` Core benefits and usage in the case of researchers, including incentives and disincentives

` Attitudes of research performing organisations (RPOs) and research funders

` Values, strategies and aims of service providers….”

Launching Transpose, a database of journal policies on preprinting & peer review – ASAPbio

“Today, we’re excited to announce the launch of Transpose (@TransposeSCI), a database of journal peer review, co-reviewing, and preprint policies relating to media coverage, licensing, versions, and citation.

These policies can often be difficult to find, unclear, or undefined. Our hope is to bring them to light so that authors, readers, reviewers, and other stakeholders can more easily find journals that align with their values. At the same time, editors can use this resource to draw inspiration from changing practices at other journals. (Read more user stories here.)

In addition to searching for individual journals, users can select up to three journals to compare side-by-side. For instance, when planning when to preprint, researchers may wish to look up the preprint policies for up to three journals they’re likely to submit to and check which are supportive of preprints and any conditions attached to this….”

Nature Announces Support for Preprint Papers, Drops Ingelfinger Rule

Good news! On May 15, the Springer group of journals – including Nature – announced that it now encourages scientists to share preprint copies of their papers with journalists and others and that doing so wouldn’t affect how the paper is handled by the journal itself. The announcement thus brings Nature‘s adoption of a 50-year-old principle called the Ingelfinger rule to a close….”

Reviewer criticises ‘no publication after preprint’ rule | THE News

“An academic is boycotting peer review for a scholarly journal after it turned down a manuscript that had previously been published on the website of an education centre.

The journal in question said that if the author had posted the article behind a paywall on a conference website, it would have still accepted it for publication.”

Preprints made Outlaws

“The Commission of Biochemical Editors of the International Union of Biochemistry is proposing to take firm and, it hopes, lethal steps against the Information Exchange Groups which have been organized, over the past four years, from the National Institutes of Health in the United States. At a meeting in Vienna a week ago, the editors of six principal journals agreed to propose to their editorial boards that in the future they would not accept articles or other communications previously circulated through the Information Exchange Groups….”