Friday, October 11, 2019

Preprint servers: free and immediate access to the research results

      Researchers in any field, accessing research publications face two main problems. One, it takes around one year in the whole process of submitting, reviewing, accepting and publishing of research in an online journal to be accessible. Another one is most of the papers remain behind the paywall as they published in journals that are accessible only after having a subscription. So, many researchers in different countries, and of different universities and colleges who don't have subscriptions to these journals are unaware of the research findings in their fields. The need to make the current research results, immediately and freely accessible to the research community for building the ground for further research, has given rise to Preprints servers. A growing number of disciplines are building online repositories of preprints that are openly accessible to all readers.

What is Preprint?

  A preprint is a full draft version of a scholarly article or research paper before it is peer-reviewed and published in a journal. It can be shared by the author before and after a paper is published in the journal.

The Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) defines a preprint as: " a scholarly manuscript posted by the author(s) in an openly accessible platform, usually before or in parallel with the peer review process."1

According to one article by Jennifer Lin 2018(May) studying the Preprint growth rate in comparison to journal article. “Preprints are one of the fastest-growing types of content. While preprints may not be new, the growth may well be: ~30% for the past 2 years (compared to article growth of 2-3% for the same period)"2


  • No paywalls between users and research results.
  • Preprint servers permit the rapid dissemination of new research output.
  • It allows the researchers to immediately get access to research results and build upon it, the foundation of new research.
  • Authors get over the frustration of waiting to be published in subscribed journals which are a year-long process.
  • Supports the researchers all over the world who are unable to get access to journals behind paywalls.
  • Contribute to the improvement of the research output of any country.
  • Researchers are aware of the current state-of-the-art of any field due to widely openly accessible research results.
  • Timely access to varied research outputs avoids the duplication of research work and better research.
  • Preprint servers are a great way for researchers to share and receive feedback on scholarly works and improve their manuscripts.

Some popular Preprint servers:

arXiv: It archives articles in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and systems science, and economics which are openly accessible. It is a community-supported resource maintained by private not-for-profit institution, Cornell University.

bioRxiv: It is a preprint server for biology (Lifesciences) which provides free access to archived preprints and it is operated by not-for-profit research and educational institution, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory.

chemRxiv: It is a preprint server for chemistry and related areas and freely distribute the unpublished preprints. It is collaboratively managed by the five world's largest chemical societies the American Chemical Society (ACS), Chinese Chemical Society, Chemical Society of Japan, German Chemical Society (GDCh) and the Royal Society of Chemistry.

EarthRxiv: A free preprint service for earth sciences to serve the geoscience community. The EarthRxiv is supported by Earth Science Information Partners (ESIP), a nonprofit, Volunteer and community-driven organization and Centre for Open Science.

EngrXiv: It is a preprint server for engineering. It is a partner of the nonprofit Centre for Open Science and is housed at the University of Wisconsin-Stout.

SocArXiv: It is a nonprofit open archive service for social sciences. SocArXiv is housed at the University of Maryland and its technology partner is Centre for Open Science.

medRxiv: It is a free online archive for preprint publishing and distributing in medical, clinical and related health sciences. The server is owned and operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL).

No doubt the preprints are growing at a faster rate and getting popularity and acceptance day by day but here are some concerns about the preprint submission before peer review about the research results to be disclosed earlier before publication which can be manipulated and published in the journal earlier than preprint article. Preprints are shared publicly on open access platform so they are discussed widely and openly on any issue raised by the community at any time. Also, your work will be publicly available before it has the benefit of peer-review, which may improve it.



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