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In academic publishing, a preprint is a version of a scholarly or scientific paper that precedes publication in a peer-reviewed scholarly or scientific journal. The preprint may persist, often as a non-typeset version available free, after a paper is published in a journal.


Publication of manuscripts in a peer-reviewed journal often takes weeks, months or even years from the time of initial submission, owing to the time required by editors and reviewers to evaluate and critique manuscripts, and the time required by authors to address critiques. The need to quickly circulate current results within a scholarly 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 and to institutional repositories.

In some journals, posting preprints may disqualify the research from submission for publication due to the Ingelfinger Rule. The majority of publishers however do allow work to be published to preprint servers before submission while others do not and are evaluated on a case-by-case basis.[1]

In August 2016, Crossref announced plans that it will provide support and infrastructure for preprints.[2]

Also in August 2016, a proposal was made for one Central Preprint Service.[3]

Preprint FAQ.[4]

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.[5]

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 (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.[6] In 2001, 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.[7]

Authorea- any field[edit]

Authorea is a collaborative writing platform used by researchers to write, cite, collaborate, host and post their articles. Launched in 2012 the site is the only preprint server that displays manuscripts as HTML with interactive figures and hosted data.

bioRxiv – biology[edit]

bioRxiv is operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Founded in November 2013, bioRxiv holds over 6,200 preprint articles in total.[8][9] All articles submitted undergo a basic screening process for offensive and/or non-scientific content but do not undergo a peer review process.[10]

ChemRxiv - chemistry[edit]

Announced on 10 August 2016, American Chemistry Society confirmed it will be creating a preprint server for chemistry research.[11]

engrXiv - engineering[edit]

engrXiv is a preprint server for engineering operated in partnership with Center for Open Science. It was launched in July 2016 and is administrated out of the University of Wisconsin–Stout where it is directed by Devin R. Berg.[12] engrXiv is currently in development and uses a temporary email deposit system.[13]

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, computer science[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. As of September 2016, 2,439 articles have been made available.[14]

MDPI's Preprints – any field[edit]

Preprints[15] is a preprint server operated by MDPI launched in June 2016.[16]

Philica – any field[edit]

See also Open peer review

PhilSci-Archive - philosophy of science[edit]

Launched in 2001, PhilSci-Archive is a preprint archive for all subfields of Philosophy of Science hosted by the University Library System at the University of Pittsburgh.[17]

PsyArXiv - psychological sciences[edit]

PsyArXiv [18] is a free preprint service for the psychological sciences which was announced in August 2016 [19] and then launched in September.[20] The service was created by the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science and the Center for Open Science.

Sciencepaper Online – any field[edit]

Sciencepaper Online[21] 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.

SocArXiv - social science[edit]

An open archive of the social sciences. SocArXiv was formed in July 2016 by a group of sociologists, members of the academic library community, and their technology partner, the Center for Open Science, using the Open Science Framework. It is administratively housed at the University of Maryland and directed by Philip Cohen.[22] SocArXiv has a temporary email deposit system.[23]

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. In May 2016, SSRN was acquired by Elsevier.[24]


Zenodo is a repository for research data that has been used also as preprint repository, because offers document preview and a DOI number for the submitted document.

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. ^ "Taking the online medicine". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  2. ^ "Getting ready to run with preprints, any day now – Crossref Blog". Retrieved 2016-08-16. 
  3. ^ "Creation of a Central Preprint Service for the Life Sciences | ASAPbio". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  4. ^ "Preprint FAQ | ASAPbio". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  5. ^ "Self-archiving FAQ". EPrints.
  6. ^ Richard Van Noorden (December 30, 2014). "The arXiv preprint server hits 1 million articles". Nature. Retrieved 2015-09-07. 
  7. ^ "Taking the online medicine". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  8. ^ "Taking the online medicine". The Economist. ISSN 0013-0613. Retrieved 2016-03-23. 
  9. ^ "All Articles | bioRxiv". Retrieved 2016-10-04. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ Widener, Andrea. "ACS launches chemistry preprint server | Chemical & Engineering News". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  12. ^ "engrXiv Blog | Announcing engrXiv, the eprint server for engineering". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  13. ^ "OSF | Temporary Home of engrXiv Presentations". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  14. ^
  15. ^
  16. ^ "Introducing Preprints: A Multidisciplinary Open Access Preprint Platform". Retrieved 2016-08-01. 
  17. ^ "History". PhilSci-Archive. Retrieved August 26, 2016. 
  18. ^ "OSF | Temporary Home of PsyArXiv Presentations". Retrieved 2016-08-18. 
  19. ^ "PsyArXiv on Twitter". Retrieved 2016-08-11. 
  20. ^ "Introducing PsyArXiv: a preprint service for psychological science – PsyArXiv Blog". 2016-09-19. Retrieved 2016-09-20. 
  21. ^
  22. ^ "Announcing the development of SocArXiv". Retrieved 2016-08-10. 
  23. ^ "Why you should post your papers to SocArXiv". Retrieved 2016-08-10. 
  24. ^ "SSRN—the leading social science and humanities repository and online community—joins Elsevier". Retrieved 2016-08-10. 

External links[edit]