What is a preprint?
A preprint is a version of a research paper that reports results but has not yet undergone peer review or been accepted for publication. There are several platforms available for publishing preprints which allows researchers to share, comment, and receive feedback about research prior to publication.
Why should I consider disseminating a preprint?
There are many reasons why you might consider a preprint:
Can I still publish my work in a journal if I initially released it as a preprint?
Before publishing a preprint, consult the journal policies for the publication to which you plan to submit your work. Most journals allow for preprints, but some don't (notably the New England Journal of Medicine).
NIH grants will accept preprint information in grant applications, and NIH funded activities can be published as preprints.
Check out Transpose, a database of journal policies on peer review, co-authorship, and preprints to easily find policies for specific publications.
How should I use preprints?
Think of preprints as the starting point of a conversation. Preprints are for scientific, not clinical, use and since they are not yet peer reviewed researchers should approach them with skepticism.They provide an avenue to engage with other scholars, provide feedback, and potentially begin building on existing work sooner than that traditional publishing timeline currently allows.