|Verma IM (2017) Preprint servers facilitate scientific discourse. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 114:12630.|
Abstract: Preprints are scientific manuscripts posted online before formal peer-review and publication in journals. Preprints have become prominent in scientific publishing, which is increasingly shaped by an emphasis on speed, transparency, and accessibility. Important as they are, those factors are entwined with the journal’s primary role as an arbiter of the rigor and significance of scientific scholarship. In keeping with our century-old mission of publishing cutting-edge research, PNAS selects important original work for publication. So it stands to reason that the journal will not accept work that has already been published at a level of detail that compromises its originality. The PNAS Editorial Board exercises discretion in judging the originality of submissions.
However, as our prior editorials have noted, an emphasis on originality need not impede the open exchange of scientific information. To that end, while their final versions await formal publication in peer-reviewed journals, preprints fulfill a vital function in ensuring that research results see the light of day in a timely fashion. Far from detracting from journal articles, preprints have many well-acknowledged benefits: They allow authors to collect feedback and improve their work before submitting it for formal peer review; they help researchers avoid tedious, resource-intensive experiments that others have already performed; they address the lamented file-drawer problem, in which null results go unnoticed because they are deemed to be of insufficient interest to journals; and, by chronicling the progress of scientific narratives, they can influence study design, underscore technical nuances, signal the availability of reagents and tools, and foster timely collaborations.
• Keywords: Preprints • Bioblast editor: Gnaiger E