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In academic publishing, a preprint is a draft of a scientific paper that has not yet been published in a peer-reviewed scientific journal.


Publication of manuscripts in a peer-reviewed journal often takes weeks, months or even years from the time of initial submission, because manuscripts must undergo extensive reviewer critique. The need to quickly circulate current results within a scientific community has led researchers to distribute documents known as preprints, which are manuscripts that have yet to undergo peer review. They may be considered as grey literature. The immediate distribution of preprints allows authors to receive early feedback from their peers, which may be helpful in revising and preparing articles for submission.

Since 1991, preprints have increasingly been distributed electronically on the Internet, rather than as paper copies. This has given rise to massive preprint databases such as arXiv.org and to institutional repositories.[1]

In some journals, issuing preprints of data may disqualify the research from submission for publish. Journals such as Nature and Science allow work to be published to preprint servers before submission while others do not and are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.[2]

Stages of printing[edit]

While a preprint is an article that has not yet undergone peer review, a postprint is an article which has been peer reviewed in preparation for publication in a journal. Both the preprint and postprint may differ from the final published version of an article. Preprints and postprints together are referred to as e-prints or eprints.[3]

The word reprint refers to hard copies of papers that have already been published; reprints can be produced by the journal publisher, but can also be generated from digital versions (for example, from an electronic database of peer-reviewed journals, such as EBSCOhost), or from eprints self-archived by their authors in their institutional repositories.

Tenure and promotion[edit]

In academia, preprints are not likely to be weighed heavily when a scholar is evaluated for tenure or promotion, unless the preprint becomes the basis for a peer-reviewed publication.

Preprint server by research field[edit]

arXiv – physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology and finance, statistics[edit]

Main article: arXiv

The e-print archive arXiv.org (pronounced like "archive") was created by Paul Ginsparg in 1991 at Los Alamos National Laboratory for the purpose of distributing theoretical high-energy physics preprints.[4] In 2001, arXiv.org moved to Cornell University and now encompasses the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics. Within the field of high-energy physics, the posting of preprints on arXiv is so common that many peer-reviewed journals allow submission of papers from arXiv directly, using the arXiv e-print number.

In some branches of physics, the arXiv database may serve as a focal point for the many criticisms made of the peer review process and peer-reviewed journals. In his column in Physics Today, April 1992, David Mermin described Ginsparg's creation as potentially "string theory's greatest contribution to science".

About 8,000 preprints a month are uploaded to arXiv as of 2016.[5]

bioRxiv – biology[edit]

bioRxiv is operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Founded in November 2013, bioRxiv holds around 3,000 preprint articles in total.[6] All articles submitted undergo a basic screening process for offensive and/or non-scientific content but do not undergo a peer review process.[7]

Nature Precedings – biology, medicine, chemistry, earth science[edit]

Main article: Nature Precedings

Nature Precedings was a free electronic repository for preprints of scientific manuscripts, posters, and unpublished observations. It was operated from 2007–2012 by Nature Publishing Group.

PeerJ PrePrints – biology, medicine, health sciences[edit]

Main article: PeerJ

PeerJ PrePrints is a free preprint server operated by PeerJ. All articles submitted undergo a basic screening process but are not peer-reviewed. Commenting is allowed by any registered user, and download and pageview data are supplied. All articles are published with a CC-BY license.[8]

Philica – any fields[edit]

See also Open peer review

Sciencepaper Online – any fields[edit]

Sciencepaper Online[9] is a website approved by the Ministry of Education (China) and under the administration of the Center for Science and Technology Development of the Ministry.

Social Science Research Network – social science and humanities[edit]

The Social Science Research Network is a repository for both working papers and accepted papers, which shows download and citation data within the site for each stored paper.

Computer preprints[edit]

The ability to distribute manuscripts as preprints has had a great impact on computer science, particularly in the way that scientific research is disseminated in that field (see CiteSeer). The open access movement has tended to focus on distributed institutional collections of research, global harvesting, and aggregation through search engines and gateways such as OAIster, rather than a global discipline base such as arXiv. E-prints can now refer to any electronic form of a scholarly or scientific publication, including journal articles, conference papers, research theses or dissertations, because these usually are found in multidisciplinary collections, called open access repositories, or eprints archives.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Stephen Curry (September 7, 2015). "Peer review, preprints and the speed of science". The Guardian. Retrieved September 7, 2015. This was an unusual thing for us to do. Preprints are a relatively new thing for life scientists, though the arXiv (‘archive’) preprint server has been in use in many fields of physics, mathematics and computer science for over 20 years. 
  2. ^ "Taking the online medicine". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  3. ^ "Self-archiving FAQ". EPrints.
  4. ^ Richard Van Noorden (December 30, 2014). "The arXiv preprint server hits 1 million articles". Nature. Retrieved September 7, 2015. 
  5. ^ "Taking the online medicine". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  6. ^ "Taking the online medicine". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  7. ^ http://biorxiv.org/about-biorxiv
  8. ^ http://peerj.com/preprints
  9. ^ http://www.paper.edu.cn/

External links[edit]

Original courtesy of Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preprint — Please support Wikipedia.
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