Preprint Article Version 1 Preserved in Portico This version is not peer-reviewed

Preprints as a Hub for Early-Stage Research Outputs

Version 1 : Received: 14 June 2018 / Approved: 15 June 2018 / Online: 15 June 2018 (05:19:00 CEST)

How to cite: Rittman, M. Preprints as a Hub for Early-Stage Research Outputs. Preprints 2018, 2018060243. Rittman, M. Preprints as a Hub for Early-Stage Research Outputs. Preprints 2018, 2018060243.


This paper explores whether preprints can better support open science by providing links to other early-stage research outputs. This potentially has benefits for transparency and discoverability of research projects. By looking at preprint submission systems, online preprints and surveying those who run preprint servers, I examined to what extent this is currently possible. No preprints server provided a complete service, however many allowed the linking of several open science elements from the abstract page. I looked at variation based on subject, age, and size of preprint server. In conclusion, authors posting preprints should consider the options provided by different preprint servers. It appears that open science is just one focus of preprint servers and further improvements will be dependent on preprint server policies and priorities rather than overcoming any technical difficulties.

Supplementary and Associated Material


preprints; open science; data; academic publishing



Comments (3)

Comment 1
Received: 15 June 2018
Commenter: (Click to see Publons profile: )
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: The author is Director of and a full-time employee of MDPI.
Comment: Note the conflict of interest.
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Comment 2
Received: 26 July 2018
Commenter: (Click to see Publons profile: )
The commenter has declared there is no conflict of interests.
Comment: Thank you for conducting this important investigation. Although limited by the small sample size, this study offers important insights on the state of the current preprint infrastructure and how it supports open science.

Different research areas often have different requirements for the preprint infrastructure. Therefore, what ways could you improve the current investigation to account for such differences? For example, one would expect the infrastructure of ChemXrv to be different to Earthxrv due to the differences in datasets they handle.

Furthermore, what were the differences in infrastructure between multidisciplinary preprints such as and some multidisciplinary OSF preprints.
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Response 1 to Comment 2
Received: 22 August 2018
Commenter: (Click to see Publons profile: )
Commenter's Conflict of Interests: I am the author of the article, Director of, and a full-time employee of MDPI which operates
Comment: Many thanks for the comment. It would be fascinating to look more deeply into the differences between disciplines. As you noted, the sample size is small and I only used information available online along with fairly general survey questions. I don't think the data I collected can definitively say anything about disciplinary differences, although to my mind there is enough to suggest that it is an avenue worth pursuing. To go further, I would recommend interviews and/or surveys with a variety of stakeholders in different disciplines. Still, due to subdisciplines within fields, it might be difficult to get a uniform picture, even about a single discipline - especially one as broad as, say, chemistry.

Regarding the differences between specific multidisciplinary preprint servers, given my conflict of interest, I didn't think it would be appropriate to make very direct comparisons. I made some general comments about the OSF projects setup, which is certainly unique as things stand. I'm aware of at least one forthcoming review on the preprint server space, perhaps it will be covered there.

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