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Edward G. Miner Library

Publishing Guide: Preprints


What is a preprint?

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

Preprint Pros and Cons

Pros Cons

Faster and wider dissemination: no wait times, no paywalls

Perception of low quality: misunderstanding of

preprints as manuscripts that can't pass peer review

Record of priority: permanent datestamp within 24hrs of posting

Risk of disseminating invalid findings: unvetted papers may be

picked up by the public, journalists, etc.

Does not preclude publication: usually not considered prior publication.

Check SHERPA/RoMEO for specific journal preprint policies

Risk of embargo violations: If press or public publish findings from

preprint may be considered prior publication

Establish a body of work: Good for early career researchers;

funders like NIH and Wellcome accept preprints as part of application

Harm: If you are posting a medical finding that people might use (medical, lay public),

and it has unintended consequences, you may cause harm to somebody.

Also true if experiments have serious flaws and somebody tries to repeat them.

Rapid evaluation of results: lots of eyes on a given paper  


Preprint Servers

Arxiv: mathematics, physics, astronomy, computer science, quantitative biology, statistics, and quantitative finance

BioRxiv: biology

Cogprints: cognitive sciences

MedArxiv: medicine and health sciences

OSF Preprints: multidisciplinary, including: science, social and behavioral science, medicine and health sciences

PsyArXiv: psychological sciences

SocArXiv: social sciences

Preprint Citation Index (1991- Present)  Discover preprints for key research articles ahead of the formal publication in a journal from a range of international selected and evaluated preprint repositories in the sciences, social sciences and arts & humanities.



LaTex: document preparation system. Free to download, can be used on Windows, Mac, Linux.

Overleaf: used in conjunction with LaTex. It provides a rich text overlay to LaTex, for a What You See Is What You Get (WYSIWYG) experience. They also offer templates for major journals, thesis, and dissertation. Free for personal use, but there are professional, fee-based plans available.

PrePubMed: indexes preprints from various preprint servers.

R: free software environment for statistical computing and graphics.