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A guide to submitting a pre-print of your paper

What is a preprint?

A preprint is a (final) draft of your manuscript, in most cases before it has undergone peer-review.

Why would I DEPOSIT a preprint?

  • It receives a DOI, which means it can be cited before (and after) your manuscript is published.
  • Many funders (including Wellcome and MRC) allow you to cite preprints in your grant application and grant review reports.
  • It's free and available to read by everyone.
  • It's the fastest way to disseminate your results when you have written them up.
  • You can get feedback from the community (and not only the reviewers).
  • It gets a time stamp (in case you're scared that someone might scoop you).
  • It's findable (e.g. via google scholar but not pubmed).
  • You can add a revised version and links to the publication after peer-review.
  • Most journals allow preprints, in some cases it is possible to submit your preprint directly to a journal via the preprint server. You can check the policy of your target journal here:

Are there any disadvantages?

  • You can't retract a preprint.
  • Original submission remains on preprint server even after revised version has been uploaded.
  • Your manuscript will have two DOIs: one for the preprint, one for the published paper.
  • The feedback (and possibly negative publicity) you could get before peer-review might not be from experts within your own field.

How does it work?

Option 1
You use a preprint server such as arXiv for physical sciences, bioRxiv for biological sciences, psyarxiv for psychology or the Open Science Framework:

Option 2
You use a preprint or open access publication hybrid such as Wellcome Open (for those funded by the Wellcome Trust), PeerJ or F1000. In this case the preprint cannot be submitted anywhere else and will undergo peer review on these websites. Note that they use open peer review (i.e. reviews and your responses can be seen by anyone). As soon as your manuscript receives two reviews that approve it, it will be indexed on pubmed.