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The Value and Benefits of Preprints in OA Publishing

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Preprints

Preprints are full draft manuscripts that are posted publicly on dedicated servers, without formatting, editing, or peer review. They are available to readers free of cost, and they can refer and cite them. Preprints undergo screening for grammar and plagiarism checks. They are open to public commentary that helps the authors support or improve the paper with additional works. Many open access (OA) and subscription journals accept preprint articles based on their publishing policies.

Benefits of Preprints

  1. No waiting

Preprints allow authors to share their work immediately or when they want to. They need not wait for months to share their work with colleagues. Early-career researchers rely on quick publishing for career opportunities. They cannot afford to publish in reputed journals where the peer-review turnaround time is long. The research work is also commonly judged by journal recognition and their perceived values, which is unfair.

  1. Open review

The work gets transparently reviewed through comments or email by many researchers, whereas traditional peer review involves only two or three researchers. Journal editors can find reviewers from this pool of preprint reviewers and read reviews of the paper when it is submitted to their journal. Preprints reduce the number of retractions, corrections, and rejections, as the author can revise the paper before submitting it to a journal through open review.

  1. Preprint means more

Negative results, data sets, supplementary materials, codes, and so on can be published only in preprint publications, as the traditional methods discourage them. This also lets others incorporate the work into their own research much earlier. Preprint publications improve one’s network in scholarly communication by promoting collaborations.

  1. Scoop protection

Preprints are conclusive records of data that provide scoop protection when published under the Creative Commons license. Even though there are servers for every subject, the main advantage of preprints lies in multidisciplinary works that benefit many communities.

Impact of Preprints in OA Publishing

Preprint repositories gained more attention in recent times for disseminating research articles to save publication time. Final versions of articles can be archived in preprint repositories under Green OA after the embargo period. Authors can publish the completed work in academic journals too via overlay publishing that links the preprints with the final version’s Digital Object Identifier (DOI). This lowers journal costs with almost no production expenses and only minimal processing costs, as they have few editorial or administrative tasks. It is possible to run a preprint server without article processing charges.

Studies show that papers that were first submitted as preprints gained more attention and citations. Many funders and publishers have integrated preprints with traditional publishing by providing them with DOIs. Preprint publishing is emerging as a separate business model in scholarly publishing. Authors are already adopting it. More publishers and funders must acknowledge and adopt preprints to support a stimulating research culture.

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Sources:
1. https://blog.typeset.io/the-role-and-impact-of-preprints-on-open-access-publishing-f1df0dd88b.
2. https://www.aje.com/arc/benefits-of-preprints-for-researchers/.
3. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6400415/.
4. https://www.niso.org/niso-io/2019/11/evolving-role-preprints-open-access-publishing-landscape.

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