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Publishing: Preprints

What Are Preprints?

A preprint is a version of a scientific manuscript posted on a public server prior to formal peer review. Common preprint characteristics are:

  1. Posted on an open access preprint server
  2. Free for authors to post
  3. Not yet peer reviewed
  4. Report original research results intended to be published as journal articles

Why Are Preprints Important?

The peer review of journal articles is a slow process. Since preprints are not peer-reviewed, they enable the immediate sharing of research results. Preprint sharing has several advantages:

  1. Speeds up sharing of new findings and makes them freely accessible
  2. Demonstrates work in progress to employers and funders
  3. Opens up manuscripts to review and commentary from all readers
  4. Serves as peer review training method for junior scientists

Which Journals and Funder Allow Preprints?

Many, but  not all, publishers allow preprint posting for manuscripts submitted to their journals for publication. Use the following resources to check specific journal/publisher policies on preprints, and be sure to also check the current policy in the author instructions for any journal you are preparing to submit to.

Overview of Preprint Publishing

Where Can I Find and Publish Preprints?

Preprint Servers

There are a number of preprint servers for the health and life sciences where you can submit your own preprint, or read, download, and comment on preprints that have been shared.

Preprint Search Engines

Because preprints are not indexed in major search engines like PubMed and Web of Science, use these resources to search preprints from multiple sources:

Content on this page was adapted from UCSF Library's Getting Published Guide.

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