Research Writing

What is preprint/Why publish/Advantages/Disadvantages/Where to publish

Do you know what preprint means?

The word “Preprint” comes from English and, when translated, means pre-print or pre-publication. 

In general, the preprint is understood as a document with original content and scientific content that was posted in an online repository before the evaluation of a panel.

In other words, it did not undergo the traditional peer review – a type of evaluation of works that is very characteristic of journals and scientific journals.  

As it is in an online repository and not in a scientific journal, the preprint is also known as an “unpublished” article.

In preprint format, the author can disseminate scientific research more quickly even if it is not completely finished – because of this, some call it a ‘draft’.

The author is also able to update the content whenever necessary (when new research data emerges, for example).

In addition to edits, many authors also accept contributions from other researchers during preprint construction.

The traditional process of publishing articles – in scientific journals, with peer review – takes a long time.

Preprints enable rapid dissemination of ideas, data sharing, and information updating.

With preprints, authors also receive faster feedback on their research. This is critical for research of an applied nature , for example.

When the research is of an applied nature, it aims to generate immediate knowledge and practical application for the population.

It is quite common for research in the area of ​​Health to be of an applied nature.

That’s what happened with a preprint about the Zika Virus, published in 2016. Faced with the epidemic that plagued Brazil that year, there was an urgency to find solutions to the symptoms and point out relationships between the Zika Virus and microcephaly.

With no time to wait for journal approval, the researchers chose to publish the research results in preprint format. 

Accessibility

The author is the one who decides whether to publish the research or not. It does not need to depend on approval from journal editors.

Therefore, the chance of scientific content reaching more people is much greater.

In addition, the author deposits the preprint in an online repository.

In other words, your preprint does not depend on territorial boundaries, which means that researchers from all over the world can read and share your research results.

To ensure an even greater reach, the ideal is to issue the DOI for the document.

The DOI is a unique code – issued only for publications that are available on the internet – that individualizes, facilitates the location and makes the file permanent on the web.

Visibility

If the preprint is more accessible, it tends to be seen more by people, do you agree?

This visibility is essential for authors who wish to establish themselves in the scientific environment.

With your preprint’s DOI, you can count the number of citations your scientific research has received.

This only helps to show the authority and relevance of your search.

It is known that indexers such as Google Scholar use the number of citations as a relevancy factor for search results.

Feedback and joint construction of knowledge

Because the format allows other researchers to comment and interact with your preprint, you can better measure the impact of your research. And scientific communication becomes more efficient!

In addition, the chances of finding a wider audience for your work also increase. Even if, in the future, you choose to submit the finished article to a journal

unlimited updates

Whenever new data appears or you need to change information in your research, you can change it.

All versions are saved and available on the system. Thus, the reader can follow all the updates made and the progress of the research.

Agility

Agility is perhaps the most attractive point of the preprint. With it, you can publish your research faster, share it, and edit it at any time.

As everything is online, changes are available to other researchers within a day. You can tell that the preprint takes the dissemination of information very seriously, right?

Disadvantages

Every choice has positive and negative sides. With the preprint, it’s no different.

According to the American Journal Experts , some researchers have raised pertinent points about the preprint that deserve their evaluation. But even so, according to them, the positive aspects outweigh the negatives.

Attempts at plagiarism

First, they emphasize that a lab or institute with greater resources can take data from a preprint and publish it before the author.

However, some online repositories, such as Even3, present not only the preprint postage date, but also each file update. Thus, the author is assured that the idea and experimentation of the research were his.

To ensure even greater security in this matter, be sure to issue the DOI of your preprint.

lack of originality

Another disadvantage is that some scientific journals do not accept to publish articles that have been the result of preprints.

They use as a failure criterion the lack of originality of these works, since they are already posted and accessible on the web.

So, it’s always good to map the journals that are interesting for your research and evaluate their submission criteria.

Have you ever thought about what would be best for you: having your article published in a scientific journal or having your preprint posted in an online repository?

Of course, this is a choice that is up to you.

However, so that you are not filled with doubts about which path to take, I will bring you positive and negative points of both options.

About articles in journals, the explanation will be shorter, since I have another exclusive and super complete material on the subject. You can check it out here:

As for the preprints, let’s analyze it point by point.

Article in scientific journal

If you’ve ever tried submitting an article to a scientific journal or “journal” you know how time consuming the process can be. This is the big disadvantage of publishing articles in journals.

Well-indexed journals with a good Qualis indicator tend to rigorously evaluate each article they receive before deciding which ones to publish.

In view of this, although many authors already have the scientific research ready to be published, the effectiveness only occurs years later.

Do you agree that, in some cases, this situation is very frustrating for academics?

After all, you put in all the time and effort to write an article, gathered up-to-date data (which became outdated with waiting) and, in the end, your content was kept in the drawer.

On the other hand, normally , only original, unpublished articles that have the same theme as the journal and that also present consistency in the information disclosed are published by scientific journals.

Note that I used the word “normally”. This didn’t happen randomly.

Unfortunately, many researchers have been the target of so-called predatory journals.

Having an article published in a renowned journal also adds a lot of value to the researcher’s Lattes Curriculum , as well as to their academic career.

The researcher also gains visibility and credibility in the scientific community.

Preprint in online repository

Talking about preprint is talking about agility in disclosure.

This is because, according to its definition, the preprint is a manuscript that starts from the article (it can be the finished article or not, since the genre allows edits), but that, because it does not undergo such a careful evaluation, the author can post it on the internet faster.

Do you agree that if the main objective of scientific research is to disseminate knowledge, the preprint fulfills exactly this function and even more quickly?

Perfect combo: preprint + article

Increasingly, preprints are seen as a trend in the Academy.  

Mainly, because it is known, today, of the urgency that certain areas of knowledge have in publishing and disseminating the results of their research.

So, several scientific journals are reevaluating their submission criteria and removing the condition of “published originality”.

They joined this trend and want to continue with preprints, making them effectively published scientific articles.

Therefore, there is a chance that your preprint will become a scientific article. It is enough to map the right scientific journals to, in the future, transform them into definitive articles and publish them.

Back to preprints…

You already know what they are, the advantages and disadvantages. Chose to post them. But do you know where?

As I said earlier, pre-publications are deposited in preprints repositories. Some are open access.

If you’ve researched the subject, you’ve probably heard of “gringos” servers, such as OSF Preprints and Peerj Preprints. Or arXiv , for the areas of mathematics, physics, computer science and biology, and biorXiv , for the field of biological sciences. 

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