After the Pandemic: Has Medical Research Been Changed Forever? | MedPage Today

“medRxiv has been a terrific help to the scientific community during the pandemic. It has sped the communication of science and fostered interactions among scientists around the world. It is an open and rapid way to share pre-peer reviewed studies. For the most part, people seemed to have quickly realized that this is science in progress, and not to take it as truth — but as work open for comment. It has embedded the preprint culture in a way that I hope will be sustained and spread.

I am not aware of any harm that has accrued and I am aware that many good interactions have resulted from the sharing of the information. And it is certainly better than science by press release alone. Also, importantly, our screening process is intended to protect the public’s interest — safeguarding privacy, promoting registration, requiring ethics approval, and ensuring that dangerous claims are avoided….”

The evolving role of preprints in the dissemination of COVID-19 research and their impact on the science communication landscape

Abstract:  The world continues to face a life-threatening viral pandemic. The virus underlying the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19), Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome Coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2), has caused over 98 million confirmed cases and 2.2 million deaths since January 2020. Although the most recent respiratory viral pandemic swept the globe only a decade ago, the way science operates and responds to current events has experienced a cultural shift in the interim. The scientific community has responded rapidly to the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing over 125,000 COVID-19–related scientific articles within 10 months of the first confirmed case, of which more than 30,000 were hosted by preprint servers. We focused our analysis on bioRxiv and medRxiv, 2 growing preprint servers for biomedical research, investigating the attributes of COVID-19 preprints, their access and usage rates, as well as characteristics of their propagation on online platforms. Our data provide evidence for increased scientific and public engagement with preprints related to COVID-19 (COVID-19 preprints are accessed more, cited more, and shared more on various online platforms than non-COVID-19 preprints), as well as changes in the use of preprints by journalists and policymakers. We also find evidence for changes in preprinting and publishing behaviour: COVID-19 preprints are shorter and reviewed faster. Our results highlight the unprecedented role of preprints and preprint servers in the dissemination of COVID-19 science and the impact of the pandemic on the scientific communication landscape.

 

 

 

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 in Kidney Disease Research | American Society of Nephrology

Abstract:  Preprint servers, such as arXiv and bioRxiv, have disrupted the scientific communication landscape by providing rapid access to research before peer review. medRxiv was launched as a free online repository for preprints in the medical, clinical, and related health sciences in 2019. In this review, we present the uptake of preprint server use in nephrology and discuss specific considerations regarding preprint server use in medicine. Distribution of kidney-related research on preprint servers is rising at an exponential rate. Survey of nephrology journals identified that 15 of 17 (88%) are publishing original research accepted submissions that have been uploaded to preprint servers. After reviewing 52 clinically impactful trials in nephrology discussed in the online Nephrology Journal Club (NephJC), an average lag of 300 days was found between study completion and publication, indicating an opportunity for faster research dissemination. Rapid review of papers discussing benefits and risks of preprint server use from the researcher, publisher, or end user perspective identified 53 papers that met criteria. Potential benefits of biomedical preprint servers included rapid dissemination, improved transparency of the peer review process, greater visibility and recognition, and collaboration. However, these benefits come at the risk of rapid spread of results not yet subjected to the rigors of peer review. Preprint servers shift the burden of critical appraisal to the reader. Media may be especially at risk due to their focus on “late-breaking” information. Preprint servers have played an even larger role when late-breaking research results are of special interest, such as during the global coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic. Coronavirus disease 2019 has brought both the benefits and risks of preprint servers to the forefront. Given the prominent online presence of the nephrology community, it is poised to lead the medicine community in appropriate use of preprint servers.

 

Preprinting a pandemic: the role of preprints in the COVID-19 pandemic | bioRxiv

Abstract:  The world continues to face an ongoing viral pandemic that presents a serious threat to human health. The virus underlying the COVID-19 disease, SARS-CoV-2, has caused over 3.2 million confirmed cases and 220,000 deaths between January and April 2020. Although the last pandemic of respiratory disease of viral origin swept the globe only a decade ago, the way science operates and responds to current events has experienced a paradigm shift in the interim. The scientific community has responded rapidly to the COVID-19 pandemic, releasing over 16,000 COVID-19 related scientific articles within 4 months of the first confirmed case, of which at least 6,000 were hosted by preprint servers. We focused our analysis on bioRxiv and medRxiv, two growing preprint servers for biomedical research, investigating the attributes of COVID-19 preprints, their access and usage rates, characteristics of their sharing on online platforms, and the relationship between preprints and their published articles. Our data provides evidence for increased scientific and public engagement (COVID-19 preprints are accessed and distributed at least 15 times more than non-COVID-19 preprints) and changes in journalistic practice with reference to preprints. We also find evidence for changes in preprinting and publishing behaviour: COVID-19 preprints are shorter, with fewer panels and tables, and reviewed faster. Our results highlight the unprecedented role of preprints and preprint servers in the dissemination of COVID-19 science, and the likely long-term impact of the pandemic on the scientific publishing landscape.

 

All that’s fit to preprint | Nature Biotechnology

“The uptake of preprints during the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of remarkable. In April, the clinical preprint repository medRxiv published between 50 and 100 SARS-CoV-2-related posts daily. The burgeoning adoption of preprints by the medical community in recent months underscores their importance as a means for rapid sharing and updating of research findings during an outbreak. In the longer term, it also may prove a watershed moment, signaling the arrival of preprints as a legitimate complement to peer-reviewed journals, broadening their acceptance among a wider community of researchers, and accelerating their integration into journal publishing workflows.

Preprints — unvetted versions of research papers — offer open publication, establish precedence of research, enable rapid dissemination of results, provide early recognition and visibility for work (especially for early-career researchers) and avoid the selection bias against negative findings commonly associated with traditional peer review. Although they are not a new idea, they only took off in the life sciences after the 2013 launch of bioRxiv; today, at least 44 different archives host biology preprints; most are non-profit, community-based repositories, although traditional publishers, such as Elsevier (SSSN), are also getting into the game….

At medRxiv, all preprints carry a disclaimer indicating that they have “not been certified by peer review” and “should not be used to guide clinical practice.” Submissions also have to pass two types of prescreening: first, a set of clerical checks for author consent, plagiarism, clinical trial registration and ethics compliance (institutional review board approvals and privacy protections), along with declarations of competing interests, funding sources, and data and code availability; and second, a check by affiliated experts to determine whether a post is spam, nonsense or pseudoscience, is dual-use research, or has the potential to cause harm by changing public behavior (for example, a claim cigarettes don’t cause cancer or vaccines cause autism)….”

All that’s fit to preprint | Nature Biotechnology

“The uptake of preprints during the COVID-19 pandemic has been nothing short of remarkable. In April, the clinical preprint repository medRxiv published between 50 and 100 SARS-CoV-2-related posts daily. The burgeoning adoption of preprints by the medical community in recent months underscores their importance as a means for rapid sharing and updating of research findings during an outbreak. In the longer term, it also may prove a watershed moment, signaling the arrival of preprints as a legitimate complement to peer-reviewed journals, broadening their acceptance among a wider community of researchers, and accelerating their integration into journal publishing workflows.

Preprints — unvetted versions of research papers — offer open publication, establish precedence of research, enable rapid dissemination of results, provide early recognition and visibility for work (especially for early-career researchers) and avoid the selection bias against negative findings commonly associated with traditional peer review. Although they are not a new idea, they only took off in the life sciences after the 2013 launch of bioRxiv; today, at least 44 different archives host biology preprints; most are non-profit, community-based repositories, although traditional publishers, such as Elsevier (SSSN), are also getting into the game….

At medRxiv, all preprints carry a disclaimer indicating that they have “not been certified by peer review” and “should not be used to guide clinical practice.” Submissions also have to pass two types of prescreening: first, a set of clerical checks for author consent, plagiarism, clinical trial registration and ethics compliance (institutional review board approvals and privacy protections), along with declarations of competing interests, funding sources, and data and code availability; and second, a check by affiliated experts to determine whether a post is spam, nonsense or pseudoscience, is dual-use research, or has the potential to cause harm by changing public behavior (for example, a claim cigarettes don’t cause cancer or vaccines cause autism)….”