Report Open Access

Accelerating scholarly communication: The transformative role of preprints

Chiarelli, Andrea; Johnson, Rob; Pinfield, Stephen; Richens, Emma

The preprints landscape is evolving rapidly, and the full impact of sharing articles in pre-review form remains to be seen. After publishing our initial report ‘The evolving preprint landscape' in 2018 and a slide deck 'Practices, drivers and impediments in the use of preprints' in spring 2019, we are now able to share our final report 'Accelerating scholarly communication - The transformative role of preprints'.

Preprints (tentatively defined as versions of research papers typically prior to peer review and publication in a journal) have become more widespread in a number of disciplines over the last few years, partly to counter the slow pace of the traditional publishing process and partly to allow authors to reach a broader audience. Knowledge Exchange, in collaboration with Research Consulting, investigated this phenomenon in order to explore the current place of preprints in the scholarly communication process.

In this context, we interviewed 38 stakeholders, including researchers, research performing organisations, research funding organisations and preprint service providers, and reviewed over 60 literature sources.

Our key results include the benefits and challenges for researchers in using preprints as well as the establishment of trust without peer review including the role of twitter. Moreover, we reflect on the responsibilities for preprint posting in the future and the role of scholarly communities and commercial publishers.

In addition to our latest report you can find our detailed analysis in the preprint 'Preprints and Scholarly Communication: Adoption, Practices, Drivers and Barriers' by Research Consulting on F1000. 


* Please note two corrections to Appendix A of the report 'Accelerating scholarly communication - The transformative role of preprints'. In table A2:

  • Thomas Lösch's affiliation is listed as Universität Bamberg. The correct affiliation is DIPF Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education
  • Zoe Ancion's affiliation is listed as DIPF Leibniz Institute for Research and Information in Education. The correct affiliation is ANR

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