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Talk given to postdocs group at the MRC Lab for Molecular Cell Biology at UCL, London 5 May 2017.
I’m Frank Norman, Information Services Manager at the Crick (in effect the Librarian).
I’ll race through the following.
Where were you in 1995? That’s when the first mainstream electronic journal came out – J Biol Chem.
By 1999 ejournals were established and we started to wonder how things could be done better. Harold Varmus at NIH published the Ebiomed proposal. Effectively proposed the adoption of preprints. Was deemed too radical for most.
Evolved into PubMedCentral in 2000 and kickstarted open access in biomedical sciences.
Preprints in biomedicine came of age when bioRxiv was started in 2013.
A preprint is a scientific manuscript uploaded by authors to an open access, public server before formal peer review.
They provide a means of rapid dissemination of research results.
It’s an article but it’s not peer-reviewed.
There are borderline cases.
Some argue that e.g. F1000Research preprints and PeerJ preprints are not preprints because they are associated with a journal. But they are still research papers that have not yet been peer-reviewed.
Wellcome, Gates and others also adopting the F1000Research model.
Cell has started ‘sneak peek’. But these are not open – have to register and login. Not openly licensed. They seem like a wrecking tactic rather than a move towards openness.
The quantitative biology section of the physics preprint server, arXiv, has grown gradually over the past decade. That has computational biology and bioinformatic papers.
Preprints.org and OSF also host preprints. OSF is hosting several subject-specific preprint servers (AgriXiv, engrxiv, lawArXiv, PsyArXiv, PaleorXiv, SportRxiv. SocArXiv too.
ACS has ChemRxiv.
bioRxiv is growing in importance.
F1000Research and PeerJ preprints contribute several.
Prepubmed is run by an individual and not formally anything to do with PubMed. It has a simple interface but there is an advanced search lets you do more.
OSF search is very simple. It may search more (non-biomed) repositories.
Journals More and more journals now accept preprints as submissions. E.g. Cell Press, ASM Press, EMBO, Nature, OUP journals, Elsevier, Springer, PLOS, CoB, Wiley, Rockefeller, CSHL
Funders Wellcome, MRC and NIH have recently have changed their policies and will now accept preprints in funding applications and reviews; CRUK are currently reviewing their policy. EMBO too.
Institutions Institutions are a bit slower to change, but this is starting e.g. accepting preprints on CVs.
Readers How do you read something that’s not been peer-reviewed? Carefully? Will you offer your comments – on the preprint itself, or on a thirdparty site (PubPeer). You might think to link them to your Publons account?
There’s a couple of sites specifically established for commenting on preprints, in niche areas.
The Node regularly highlights interesting dev biol preprints (but not comments)
Haldane’s sieve – population and evolutionary genetics Warburg’s lens – mathematical oncology
Can also comment directly on biorxiv, or PubPeer. Can link with Publons.
the fastest-growing biology preprint server, adding 800 papers each month to its current total of about 10,000 papers.
Recently announced a slew of new funding from CZI.
bioRxiv works with several journals to streamline the process of submitting journal and preprint server. Save your time.
a scientist-driven initiative to promote the productive use of preprints in the life sciences.
Multiple funders support it.
Proposal to create more infrastructure. Call for proposals just closed. Wait to see what happens.
Preprints in biomedical sciences
Francis Crick Institute
• What are they
• Where to find them
• Things are changing