What exactly is “Preprint”?
As you read several news publications you may come across the term “Preprint”. What exactly does that mean and what does a preprint article entail?
A preprint article is a version of a manuscript that is published on an open-access preprint server. This kind of manuscript is published before any peer-review process. They are generally published electronically and can be located on publicly available databases or preprint servers.
One reason a group of researchers may choose to do a preprint submission is because of the length of submitting an article through the traditional publication process can take a while. Preprint allows for the dissemination of information at a faster pace. Generally, the authors will still seek to have their work published in a peer-reviewed journal at a later date.
Skipping over the peer-review process may seem unconventional but there are some benefits to preprint. Preprint allows you showcase to your colleagues where your interests lie, as well as establish early claims to your research findings. Preprints are the fastest way that a researcher can disseminate their knowledge and research and start scholarly conversations. Since most are located on an open access platform anyone can read them without paying which increases their accessibility and outreach.
It is important to keep in mind that while preprints may be scholarly, they have yet to be formally peer reviewed. While some preprint servers may have a simple peer review process to determine that the content is legitimate, they don’t necessarily check on the reliability or accuracy of the information. It is still best to be cautious when reading a preprint paper and to use your best judgement.
Did you know that we have our own Seton Hall Google Custom search for preprints?! A custom search will search multiple preprint servers simultaneously, including researchsquare.com, medrxiv.org, Preprints with The Lancet, semanticscholar.org, biorxiv.org, and outbreaksci.prereview.org.
If you have any further questions regarding preprint documents reach out to your librarian!
— Kyle Downey firstname.lastname@example.org