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Molecular and Cell Biology: Preprints

How to find articles, books, conference proceedings, dissertations, protocols, data and citation management tools, and other resources in Molecular and Cell Biology.

What is a preprint?

A preprint is a version of a scholarly article that is circulated (generally by being posted online and made freely available) without having undergone formal peer review. A preprint can be an article that is:

  • posted before it is submitted for publication,
  • in the process of submission to a journal for peer review and publication, or
  • not intended for formal publication.

Advantages of preprints

  • Rapid dissemination of research results
  • Forum for null or negative results that can be difficult to publish
  • Freely available preprints can be viewed by everyone with access to the internet
  • There is generally no cost to authors to post
  • Provide opportunities for authors to receive feedback from a wide range of readers beyond formal peer reviewers
  • Published articles with preprints are cited at higher levels, increasing impact
  • Can provide evidence of scientific priority

Disadvantages of preprints

  • Preprints have not undergone the quality checks provided by formal peer review (although there can be extensive public comments)
  • Some journals do not permit citation of preprints
  • Preprints may continue to be cited after the article has been published in journal, which is the version of record
  • A small number of journals may consider the posting of a preprint to be a form of prior publication, and so will not accept manuscripts that have been posted as preprints

Selected perspectives on preprints

  • Watson C. Rise of the preprint: how rapid data sharing during COVID-19 has changed science forever. Nature Medicine 2022 Jan;28(1):2-5. PMID: 35031791. Get it at UC
  • Sarabipour S, Debat HJ, Emmott E, Burgess SJ, Schwessinger B, Hensel Z. On the value of preprints: An early career researcher perspective. PLoS Biology 2019 Feb 21;17(2):e3000151. PMID: 30789895; PMCID: PMC6400415. Get it at UC
  • Verma IM. Preprint servers facilitate scientific discourse. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A. 2017 Nov 28;114(48):12630. Epub 2017 Oct 19. PMID: 29078419; PMCID: PMC5715790. Get it at UC
  • Berg JM, et al. Preprints for the life sciences. Science. 2016 May 20;352(6288):899-901. PMID: 27199406. Get it at UC

Preprint sources

Disciplinary preprint archives

Multidisciplinary preprints