Question of the month- preprint servers
Posted by the Node, on 24 February 2016
Last week saw ASAPbio, a meeting that discussed the role that preprints can play in the life sciences (for a an introduction to preprints check out this video or this wikipedia page). Those of you on twitter will have followed the #ASAPbio discussion with interest, and the footage of the conference is now available online. What is your experience: have you deposited your manuscript on a preprint service like bioRxiv? If not, have you considered doing so, and what would persuade/deter you? This month we are asking:
What is the value of preprint servers in Biology?
Share your thoughts by leaving a comment below! You can comment anonymously if you prefer. We are also collating answers on social media via this Storify. And if you have any ideas for future questions please drop us an email!
4 thoughts on “Question of the month- preprint servers”
So Ruben is what you’re saying “why publish at all if not to share our findings thereby accelerating research”? That’s a good point. Putting aside the rather cynical reason of career advancement, isn’t the number one reason and benefit of publishing the advancement of science? If one believes that, then one must also believe that any system that allows the sharing of scientific data sooner, more efficiently and for free will help further this cause.
The value of preprints for the greater good is hard to rebuff – most people accept that it IS an overwhelmingly good thing for science. The question I am interested in asking is what is the value of uploading preprints for you personally? Will you list them in your CV or grant? Would you consider them when reviewing someone else’s CV or grant? Also, what’s stopping you from uploading preprints? Are you scared you could still get scooped?
For me, I know that I have generated data from a previous postdoc that will never see the light of publication day. It happened because I had to quit my postdoc for personal reasons and no one was able to continue my work. And I know that this is not uncommon – many students and postdocs generate good quality data that, for many different reasons, will never get published. This seems very wasteful; both of the data itself as well as the time, money and effort it took to generate it. Could preprints help offset this waste? Definitely. Could they also give a researcher something tangible to show for their work, something more meaningful than “manuscript in preparation”? Certainly, yes. And, getting back to the greater good, will posting preprints help advance science at a greater rate than previously seen? Absolutely.
That’s what I see as the primary value of preprints. What about the rest of you?
Is there a list of the reprint servers and those that people think most reliable?
Which do people prefer?