Thursday, June 06, 2013

Some new preprints of interest and comments on "The case for preprints in biology"

Getting more and more into preprints (see for example these posts Guest post from Jake Scott: Building trust: a sine qua non for successful acceptance of preprints in the biological sciences and More bio preprint discussion sites ...).  So am starting to browse preprint servers a bit more and I have found some recently posted preprints of interest:

From arVix:

From PeerJ preprints
I wondered - where else might one find Biology themed preprints.  And a little google searching let me to this new PLOS Biology paper which somehow I had missed a few weeks ago: The Case for Open Preprints in Biology

(Full citation: Desjardins-Proulx P, White EP, Adamson JJ, Ram K, Poisot T, et al. (2013) The Case for Open Preprints in Biology. PLoS Biol 11(5): e1001563. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001563)

Wow - how perfect.  In their paper they not only lay out the case for why preprints would be a good thing in biology but discuss some of the options.  And in addition to PeerJ and arXiv they point to Figshare, Github, and ResearchGate.

Below is Figure 1 from their paper:

Figure 1. It can take several months before a submitted paper is officially published and citable.. Meanwhile, few people are aware of the research that has been done since, typically, only close colleagues are given access to the preprints. With public preprint servers, the science is immediately available and can be openly discussed, analyzed, and integrated into current research. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001563.g001

They also show that in arXiv submissions in the qBio section are going up but not nearly as much as submissions in other fields

Figure 2. Submissions to the quantitative biology section lag behind physics, mathematics, and computer science.  Data from [19]. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.1001563.g002.  The reference to 19 is to Warner S (2012) Data for arXiv submissions by subject and year. Available:​966. Accessed 14 April 2013.

I think this paper is worth a look for anyone interest in scientific publishing.  I like their last line and will end my post with it:

Preprints are simply bypassing this model for what we believe is the progress of science: they speed up the dissemination of scientific discoveries and put on readers' shoulders the responsibility to judge originality and pertinence.


  1. Weird, i posted on this yesterday and it didn't show up.

    anywho - thanks for posting the preprints you found - one is directly relevant to my research and I never saw it. This highlights exactly one of the issues that seems to be popping up which is how to FIND PREPRINTS THAT ARE GERMANE TO YOU. Our old system, reading journals that were in our field, relied on other people picking the best things to read for you. Then, we had scheduled pubmed and google scholar searches. I'm not sure that pubmed is going to index preprints - though google scholar seems to find most of them.

    Another solution is what Warburg's Lens and Haldane's Sieve is trying to do, and what I posted about for you recently - the creation of micro-communities of peers to identify preprints for you. Each person searching their own space and reporting back.

    1. somehow your previous one ended up in spam ...

  2. Is that commentary on the quality of the comment? :)

    1. I note - this one ended up in SPAM too - but I rescued it