A group of open science advocates have launched the first preprint aimed exclusively at African scientists. The free, online outlet is one of a growing number for academics on the continent to share their work.
Many biologists are still reluctant to submit preprints, in part out of concern that doing so will allow others to “scoop” their work and undermine their chances of publication in a prestigious journal. I would like to rebut that concern, among others, and to share our research group’s first experience submitting a preprint manuscript.
Why do authors continue to cite preprints years after they've been formally published? A citation is much more than a directional link to the source of a document. It is the basis for a system of rewarding those who make significant contributions to public science.
Including preprints rather than focusing completely on published papers in journal clubs might benefit the scientific enterprise in numerous ways, including by providing direct criticisms to preprint authors before publication, deemphasizing publishing venue, teaching students the art of reviewing papers, and making journal clubs more current by discussing unpublished data.
I’m in graduate school to learn, and preprints—draft versions of journal articles that are shared prior to peer review—offer a great opportunity to do just that. Here’s how preprints help young researchers grow in ways traditional types of scientific communication don’t.