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Scholarly Communications


Preprints are academic papers and articles released before peer review, and they’re typically made publicly available on preprint repositories by the author. Preprints can cover any subject from any field, from engineering and medicine to medieval studies and sociology. The idea is to disseminate research and contribute to global knowledge.

Considerations around using or posting preprints

Whether you're a researcher releasing your knowledge, a student looking to understand the kinds of research that are being done in your field, or a curious individual wanting to learn more, there are plenty of reasons to use preprints. However, it is important to be aware of what preprints are and to evaluate them, and their servers, on an individual basis.

Potential Benefits: 

  • Traditional publishing and peer-review processes can take time; preprints allow the core idea of a work to be quickly introduced to the community. 
  • Preprints give the reader an idea of the kind of research currently being done in any given field. They allow you to get the lay of the land, in a sense. 
  • Researchers can use preprints to stake a prior claim, attaching their name to a discovery long before the final iteration of their work is published. 
  • Preprints are free, and therefore are widely disseminated, adding to the sum of global knowledge. 
  • Preprints allow new researchers and academics to get their foot in the metaphorical door by enabling them to quickly release their work and spark conversation and collaboration with established community members.
  • Authors have the opportunity to receive immediate feedback on their work from members of the academic community.
  • Preprints can be used in grant and job applications as evidence of productivity

Things to Consider:  

  • Preprints are released before peer-review, and while some servers require that they be screened for quality, this isn't the case for all. Always be sure to evaluate a preprint carefully. 
  • As preprints are not final copies of works, they should not be taken to represent established knowledge. 
  • Because preprints reach a greater audience, works are more likely to receive comments - both positive and negative. As such, it is important to consider how these comments may affect your work's reputation, as well as consider the potential impact on later peer-review processing. 
  • Some journals might not accept works that have been previously released as preprints. While many journals generally don't take issue with preprints, always be sure to double check with the policies of your target journal before committing to releasing a preprint. See our section on Preprints & Conflicts with Journals for more. 

Preprints & conflicts with journals

When considering submitting to a preprint repository, a common worry is whether the target publisher will no longer accept the work if it is already available as a preprint. Fortunately, as preprints continue to rise in popularity, more and more journals are updating their policies. In fact, some publishers facilitate posting preprints to their own or a partner platform. However, while some allow the release of preprints before publication and even encourage it, others don't; it's best to always check with the policies of your target journal before making a preprint available.

When considering whether a preprint server is suitable for you, it's also important to consider whether it meshes with your target journal. While it's possible to search each server and journal separately, this can be a time-consuming endeavour. ASAPbio provides a directory of perprint server policies and practices, though you should always check with the journal for the most accurate and up to date information. 

Find Preprints


yellow and orange infographic on preprints