Published December 8, 2021 | Version v1
Poster Open

Preprint withdrawals: Proposing a FAIRly template-based approach

  • 1. Cambridge University Press & Assessment
  • 2. Feinberg School of Medicine, Northwestern University


Despite the recent surge in the popularity of preprints, their withdrawals and the associated process have attracted little attention in the literature and remain ambiguous in practice. We will briefly present the results of our exploratory review of the literature about preprint withdrawals, and will provide a suggestion to improve current practices. We argue that, given the growing significance of preprints to scholarly communication, mechanisms for handling corrections of major errors of preprints should uphold the same principles of transparency as those of formally published articles as a baseline. Given the interim and community-led nature of preprints, however, we suggest the process of withdrawal and update should be made simpler than the equivalent journal process. Furthermore, we believe it is important to the future of research and research communication that information about content withdrawals follow FAIR principles. Accordingly, we present a straightforward template-based approach to preprint withdrawals, currently being trialled by Cambridge Open Engage. We will present the template and feedback we received to date. We seek wider community engagement and feedback on the applicability of our proposed approach to various research areas and preprint platforms, thereby understanding the circumstances where this approach might be inappropriate.


A preprint that describes the rationale for developing the template in greater length and also includes further suggestions for its use can be accessed here:



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  • Beck, J., Ferguson, C.A., Funk, K., Hanson, B., et al. (2020). Building Trust in Preprints: Recommendations for Servers and Other Stakeholders. OSF Preprints. doi:10.31219/
  • Teixeira da Silva, J.A. (2020). Silently withdrawn or retracted preprints related to Covid-19 are a scholarly threat and a potential public health risk: theoretical arguments and suggested recommendations. Online Information Review. doi: 10.1108/OIR-08-2020-0371
  • Wingen, T., Berkessel, J., Dohle, S. (2021). Caution, Preprint! Brief Explanations Allow Non-scientists to Differentiate Between Preprints and Peer-reviewed Journal Articles. OSF Preprints. doi:10.31219/
  • Wright, J., & Hosseini, M. (2021). Improving preprint withdrawals: A template based approach. Cambridge Open Engage. doi:10.33774/coe-2021-9sccm This content is a preprint and has not been peer-reviewed.