Preprints: Accelerating Research

1. What Is a Preprint?

Other Differences Between Preprints and Published Articles

In addition to peer review and the resulting changes to the article from review feedback, there are several other differences between preprints and published articles.

Assigned Digital Object Identifier (DOI)

Think of a DOI as a home address. There will be a different address for the preprint and the published article. If a preprint eventually becomes a published article, the preprint record may also include the Article DOI so researchers can find the final scholarly work. Notice the DOI address in the preprint screenshot. In the published article, the DOI will be different.

Screenshot of Preprint DOI from bioRxiv Screenshot of preprint DOI from bioRxiv

Associated Journal

Most scholarly articles will be published through specific research journals, whereas preprints can be posted prior to journal submission. As a result, citations to preprints generally carry the name of the preprint server or repository, in lieu of a journal.


While most preprint servers and indices are open access, journals may have different access policies, including open access and paid subscriptions. Preprint servers may preserve all preprints so that you can access them even when the final article is published. To learn more about preprint server preservation policies, please refer to ASAPBio’s preprint server policy directory.


Check your knowledge from the 1. What Is a Preprint? section by answering the following questions:

  1. True or False? In general, preprints are peer reviewed.

  1. Which of the following might be good reasons to submit your manuscript as a preprint? (Select all that apply)

  1. Click the links below to review the article information as a preprint, published article, and the PubMed record of the published article:

Arunachalam PS, Walls AC, et al. Adjuvanting a subunit COVID-19 vaccine to induce protective immunity. Nature. 2021 Apr 19. doi: 10.1038/s41586-021-03530-2. Epub ahead of print. PMID: 33873199.

What differences do you notice (select all that apply)?