Policy & Process

What is a “Preprint”?

Preprints is a multidisciplinary preprint platform that makes scientific manuscripts from all fields of research immediately available at www.preprints.org. Preprints is a free (not-for-profit) open access service supported by MDPI in Basel, Switzerland.

A preprint is any article that hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed and published in an academic journal. In most cases, you can think of it as a draft or working paper. A preprint can be updated and improved at any time.

What’s unique about Preprints compared with other preprint archive servers?

Posting Preprints in All Research Fields
Today’s major preprint platforms focus on specific research fields. We want to ensure that all academics are able to establish research precedence by using a multidisciplinary preprint platform. This is why Preprints matters.

We are Making Research Discoverable, Sharable and Citable
Open science calls for transparent and public dissemination of scientific content. This means that a preprint service requires optimized search, possibilities to share content in scientific communities, reliable archiving, and the possibility to immediately cite content.

  • The advanced search function of Preprints allows for a search by keywords in the article or in the comments, author name, author affiliation, subject areas, disciplines, or date posted.
  • Readers can share preprints on social media and bookmark them on external services such as CiteULike, Mendeley, BibSonomy, Reddit, or Delicious.
  • All posted preprints are immediately citable by their assigned digital object identifier (DOI). Preprints encourages authors to post updates of their working manuscript as research progresses. From the first draft to the final document, every version is independently citable with its unique DOI.

Preprint Submission, Announcement, Archive and Indexing Process

The submission process requires authors to provide general information on the manuscript and all authors, agree to the copyright license conditions, upload the Microsoft Word or LaTeX file together with the PDF version, and include any supplementary materials. Authors can track the submission status in their user profile dashboard.

Once the submission is complete, the article will go through a quick internal check which takes about 24 hours, before it appears online. We encourage authors to submit improved versions after the first version is announced. To upload a new version, please use the “Submit follow-up version” in the “My Articles” dashboard under the user profile. All versions are assigned DOI numbers and can be independently cited.

Types of Paper Accepted

Preprints publishes any article that reports original research results or a comprehensive review of a field. As such, the following types of articles are suitable: Article, Review, Conference Paper, Data Descriptor, Brief Report, Case Report, Communication, Short Note, Technical Note, Hypothesis. Other types of articles may be accepted at the discretion of the editorial team.

Copyright and Licenses

All preprints are posted with a CC BY and authors grant Preprints a license to distribute the article, which states:

  • I grant Preprints a perpetual, non-exclusive license to distribute this article.
  • I certify that I have the right to grant this license.
  • I understand that submissions cannot be completely removed once accepted by Preprints.

Preprints does not accept content created by a third party that has not authorized distribution. Authors should be aware that articles uploaded cannot be published in a journal that prohibits prior distribution on an e-print server. If your paper is published elsewhere and you want to post it on Preprints, you must obtain permissions from for any materials that you do not hold copyright to, and include the permission in your submission.

All preprints are released under a CC BY license, and CC BY or CC0 licenses for associated datasets.

Reference to Preprints Articles

Each preprint has a unique DOI number: doi:10.20944/preprintsyyyymm.nnnn.vn. This DOI links to the abstract page of the preprint.

  • yyyy is the year, e.g., 2016.
  • mm is the month, e.g., 01.
  • nnnn is the sequential number of the publication in a month, e.g., 0001.
  • vn is the version number, e.g., v1.

Preprints and Publishing in Peer Reviewed Journals

The majority of journals support archival of working papers (preprints) on a public server in advance of peer-review and formal publication. We encourage authors to visit the Sherpa database before uploading to Preprints, and check the preprint acceptance policy by journal or by publisher. Note: only “Green" or “Yellow” journals/publishers in the Sherpa database allow authors to archive preprints in advance of publication.

Preprints currently does not post articles that have already been published in a peer-reviewed journal (post-prints).

User Terms and Conditions

We encourage readers to post comments on articles archived in Preprints. Comments must follow the standards of professional discourse and should focus on the scientific content of the article. Insulting or offensive language, personal attacks and off-topic remarks will not be permitted. Comments must be written in English. Preprints reserves the right to remove comments without notice. Readers who post comments are obliged to declare any competing interests, financial or otherwise.


Submitted manuscripts should not reuse text from another source without appropriate citation.

Authorship Criteria

Authorship must include and be strictly limited to researchers who substantially contributed to the design of the study, the production, analysis, or interpretation of the results, and/or preparation of the manuscript. Those who contributed to the work but do not qualify for authorship should be listed in the acknowledgments. According to the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) standard, to which Preprints adheres, "all authors should agree to be listed and should approve the submitted and accepted versions of the publication. Any change to the author list should be approved by all authors including any who have been removed from the list. The corresponding author should act as a point of contact between the editor and the other authors and should keep co-authors informed and involve them in major decisions about the publication (e.g. answering reviewers’ comments)." [1]

[1] Wager, E.; Kleinert, S. Responsible research publication: international standards for authors. A position statement developed at the 2nd World Conference on Research Integrity, Singapore, July 22-24, 2010. In Promoting Research Integrity in a Global Environment; Mayer, T., Steneck, N., eds.; Imperial College Press / World Scientific Publishing: Singapore; Chapter 50, pp. 309- 316.

Ethical Policies

Authors wishing to announce their articles in Preprints are asked to abide by the following rules:

  • Any facts that might be perceived as a possible conflict of interest of the author(s) must be disclosed in the paper prior to submission.
  • Authors should accurately present their research findings and include an objective discussion of the significance of their findings.
  • Data and methods used in the research need to be presented in sufficient detail in the article, so that other researchers can replicate the work.
  • Raw data should preferably be publicly deposited by the authors before submission of their manuscript.
  • Authors need to at least have the raw data readily available for presentation to the referees and the editors, if requested.
  • Authors need to ensure appropriate measures are taken so that raw data is retained in full for a reasonable time after publication.
  • Plagiarism, data fabrication and image manipulation, knowingly providing incorrect information, copyright infringement, inaccurate author attributions, attempts to inappropriately manipulate the peer review process, failures to declare conflicts of interest, fraud, and libel are not tolerated.
  • Preprints will rigorously enforce its standard, and will follow up on cases of infringement. For extreme cases we may call on individuals to be reported to their institutions. Any complaints should be directed to info@preprints.org.
  • All submitted materials should be legal.

Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE)

Preprints is maintained and operated by MDPI, a publisher of open access journals. MDPI and Preprints adhere to the COPE Code of Conduct and Best Practice Guidelines. Manuscripts containing original descriptions of research conducted on humans or experimental animals must contain details of approval from a properly constituted research ethics committee. As a minimum, the project identification code, date of approval and name of the ethics committee or institutional review board should be cited in the “Methods” section.

Supplementary Materials, Data Deposit and Software Source Code

In order to maintain the integrity, transparency and reproducibility of research records, authors are strongly encouraged to make their experimental and research data openly available by depositing data in Preprints along with the manuscript. For papers in which new computer code (e.g., analytical bioinformatics tools or computer simulations) is of central importance, the authors are encouraged to release custom computer code either by depositing in public source code repositories or by announcing the source code as supplementary material to the paper. Additional data and files can be uploaded as "Supplementary Files" during the manuscript submission process. Accepted file formats include (but are not limited to):

  • data tables and spreadsheets (text files, MS Excel, OpenOffice, CSV, XML, etc.)
  • text documents (text files, PDF, MS Word, OpenOffice, etc.;
  • images (JPEG, PNG, GIF, TIFF, BMP, etc.)
  • videos (AVI, MPG, QuickTime, etc.)
  • executables (EXE, Java, etc.)

Citations and references in supplementary files are permitted provided that they also appear in the main text and in the reference list. The journal Data (ISSN 2306-5729) also accepts submissions of dataset papers, and the publication of small data sets along with the paper, and/or software source codes is encouraged.

Reproducing Published Material from Other Publishers

It is absolutely essential that authors obtain permission to reproduce any published material (figures, schemes, tables or any extract of a text), which does not fall into the public domain, or for which they do not hold the copyright. The authors must request permission from the copyright holder prior to posting to Preprints (please refer to the imprint of the individual publications to identify the copyright holder).

Permission is required for:
  • Your own works published by other publishers and for which you did not retain copyright.
  • Substantial extracts from anyone's works.
  • Use of tables, graphs, charts, schemes and artworks, if they are unaltered or only slightly modified.
  • Photographs for which you do not hold copyright.

Permission is not required for:
  • Reconstruction of your own table with data already published elsewhere. Please notice that in this case you must cite the source of the data in the form of either "Data from..." or "Adapted from...".
  • Reasonably short quotes are considered fair use and therefore do not require permission.
  • Graphs, charts, schemes and artworks that are completely redrawn by the authors and significantly changed beyond recognition do not require permission.

Permanency of Content

All content announced on Preprints are permanently archived and retrievable.

Retracting a Manuscript

Submissions can be deleted before they are accepted by Preprints editorial office. Once accepted, authors can request to withdraw a manuscript, but must provide a compelling reason for doing so. Preprints retains the right to refuse requests for withdrawal or to retract manuscripts considered to have contravened the publication policy. Withdrawn preprints will no longer be available to download as a PDF document and will be marked as "Withdrawn". The public article page will still be kept as a record.

Funding Disclosure

Preprints requires all authors to disclose funding information during submission. This information should be provided in submission form.


For inquiries regarding submission, announced papers, legal issues, the advisory board, or any inquiry regarding the general operation of Preprints, please contact info@preprints.org.