Credibility of preprints: an interdisciplinary survey of researchers | Royal Society Open Science

Abstract:  Preprints increase accessibility and can speed scholarly communication if researchers view them as credible enough to read and use. Preprint services do not provide the heuristic cues of a journal’s reputation, selection, and peer-review processes that, regardless of their flaws, are often used as a guide for deciding what to read. We conducted a survey of 3759 researchers across a wide range of disciplines to determine the importance of different cues for assessing the credibility of individual preprints and preprint services. We found that cues related to information about open science content and independent verification of author claims were rated as highly important for judging preprint credibility, and peer views and author information were rated as less important. As of early 2020, very few preprint services display any of the most important cues. By adding such cues, services may be able to help researchers better assess the credibility of preprints, enabling scholars to more confidently use preprints, thereby accelerating scientific communication and discovery.

 

 

Submissions and Downloads of Preprints in the First Year of medRxiv | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA | JAMA Network

“Preprint servers offer a means to disseminate research reports before they undergo peer review and are relatively new to clinical research.1-4 medRxiv is an independent, not-for-profit preprint server for clinical and health science researchers that was introduced in June 2019.4 A central question was whether there would be adoption of a new approach to dissemination of pre–peer-review science. Now, a year after its establishment, we report medRxiv’s submissions, posts, and downloads.”

Preprint Servers’ Policies, Submission Requirements, and Transparency in Reporting and Research Integrity Recommendations | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA | JAMA Network

“Preprint servers are online platforms that enable free sharing of preprints, scholarly manuscripts that have not been peer reviewed or published in a traditional publishing venue (eg, journal, conference proceeding, book). They facilitate faster dissemination of research, soliciting of feedback or collaborations, and establishing of priority of discoveries and ideas.1 However, they can also enable sharing of manuscripts that lack sufficient quality or methodological details necessary for research assessment, and can help spread unreliable and even fake information.2 Since 2010, more than 30 new preprint servers have emerged, yet research on preprint servers is still scarce.3 With the increase in the numbers of preprints and preprint servers, we explored servers’ policies, submission requirements, and transparency in reporting and research integrity recommendations, as the latter are often perceived as mechanisms by which academic rigor and trustworthiness are fostered and preserved.

Preprint manuscripts and servers in the era of coronavirus disease 2019

Abstract

Rationale, Aims, and Objectives

To both examine the impact of preprint publishing on health sciences research and survey popular preprint servers amidst the current coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID?19) pandemic.

Methods

The authors queried three biomedical databases (MEDLINE, Web of Science, and Google Scholar) and two preprint servers (MedRxiv and SSRN) to identify literature pertaining to preprints. Additionally, they evaluated 12 preprint servers featuring COVID?19 research through sample submission of six manuscripts.

Results

The realm of health sciences research has seen a dramatic increase in the presence and importance of preprint publications. By posting manuscripts on preprint servers, researchers are able to immediately communicate their findings, thereby facilitating prompt feedback and promoting collaboration. In doing so, they may also reduce publication bias and improve methodological transparency. However, by circumventing the peer?review process, academia incurs the risk of disseminating erroneous or misinterpreted data and suffering the downstream consequences. Never have these issues been better highlighted than during the ongoing COVID?19 pandemic. Researchers have flooded the literature with preprint publications as stopgaps to meet the desperate need for knowledge about the disease. These unreviewed articles initially outnumbered those published in conventional journals and helped steer the mainstream scientific community at the start of the pandemic. In surveying select preprint servers, the authors discovered varying usability, review practices, and acceptance polices.

Conclusion

While vital in the rapid dispensation of science, preprint manuscripts promulgate their conclusions without peer review and possess the capacity to misinform. Undoubtedly part of the future of science, conscientious consumers will need to appreciate not only their utility, but also their limitations.

ARPHA Preprints

“ARPHA Preprints is designed to answer the growing need for faster dissemination of scientific research by posting preprints (not peer-reviewed, not copyedited and not typeset versions of manuscripts) submitted to journals hosted on ARPHA Platform that have selected this service. Preprints are optional, therefore authors need to confirm during submission whether they want their manuscript to be posted as a preprint.

ARPHA Preprints is not open for direct submission of preprints, but only through the submission systems of the participating ARPHA journals.

The scope and the article type of preprints are determined by those of the journal….”

AfricArXiv – the African preprint repository – Open Collective

“In April 2018, the seed for AfricArXiv was planted during the 2nd AfricaOSH summit in Kumasi, Ghana with this historic tweet

In June that same year, we joined forces with The Center for Open Science and launched a branded preprint service. Early in 2020 we extended our Open Access platform to a community

collection on Zenodo and initiated a partnership with ScienceOpen, with whom we are running AfricArXiv preprints and curating a collection of COVID-19 research from and about Africa.

Shortly after that and as an innovative and immediate response to the pandemic, we partnered with Knowledge Futures Group to provide a platform for audio/visual preprints on PubPub. Next, we plan to add Figshare and PKP/OPS to the list of our partner repositories. 

Since we work to foster community among African researchers, we were excited to launch a petition in 2019 to sign the African Principles for Open Access in Scholarly Communication https://info.africarxiv.org/african-oa-principles/. The petition is ongoing, so you can still add your name to it. Published under CC-BY licence, anyone can Share and Adapt the principles while giving appropriate credit ‘African Principles for Open Access in Scholarly Communication as agreed upon by the signatories‘, provide a link to the principles, and indicate if changes were made.

We announced our strategic partnerships with the Institute for Globally Distributed Open Research and Education (IGDORE), Open Knowledge Map and ScienceOpen. ORCID and AfricArXiv initiated joint efforts to assist African scientists in advancing their careers through unique identifiers. 

Since the beginning of the pandemic in March, we collect, create and disseminate a wealth of resources, ideas and guidelines around COVID-19 in Africa. 

We have received and accepted around 200 submissions in total across our partner repositories….”

Preprints & COVID-19 • covidpreprints

“The database is being actively maintiained & managed by Zhang-He Goh (@zhanghe_goh), Gautam Dey (@Dey_Gautam) & Jonny Coates (@JACoates91). For any queries or questions please contact Jonny at jonathon.coates@qmul.ac.uk or preLights at prelights@biologists.com

In addition, our thanks go out to the wider scientific community who are diligently assessing and communicating important preprints during this difficult time.

preLights is a community service supported by The Company of Biologists, the not-for-profit publisher of Development, Journal of Cell Science, Journal of Experimental Biology, Disease Models & Mechanisms and Biology Open. The Company of Biologists is also a UK charity, providing grants and other support for the scientific community. …”

EarthArXiv Preprint Server Re-Launches on CDL-Hosted Janeway Platform – Office of Scholarly Communication

“California Digital Library (CDL) is excited to announce the official re-launch of the EarthArXiv preprint server, now hosted by CDL on the Janeway platform. The site provides access to nearly 1,500 recent preprint publications covering a wide range of topics in Earth Science — and researchers who wish to make their findings immediately and openly available can submit papers now….”