Research Preprints are a type of paper published before it has undergone peer review. They are published on servers such as arXiv and bioRxiv, or on Elsevier’s SSRN. In recent years, this practice has become more prominent in scholarly publishing. In some disciplines, such as mathematics, nearly all papers are self-archived on the arXiv repository before being published in a peer-reviewed journal. But in other disciplines, preprints are still a relatively new development.
Recent reports show that public discourse can affect the impact of preprints. One study reported that a single preprint was highlighted in 19 news sources and four blogs, and was highlighted 1044 times on Twitter. OASPA has called for more commentary on preprints, which can contextualize research that is not yet peer-reviewed. The COVID-19 preprint was withdrawn after dozens of comments called attention to its flaws.
Preprints are also advantageous for authors because they allow them to share their work early in the publication process. Traditionally, researchers have to wait months or even years before their work appears in the scientific community. This often causes frustration among authors, so preprints give them a platform to share their work earlier.
While peer-reviewed journals have a long-term publication process, preprints can be published online in minutes. They are indexed by Altmetric and Google Scholar and provide a permanent DOI. Furthermore, researchers who post their preprints on the web can interact with other researchers in their field and gain immediate feedback. These interactions allow authors to pinpoint potential flaws in their work. Furthermore, preprints make it easier to disclose research findings to the public, and they help prevent plagiarism of ideas by other researchers.