Preprints: Accelerating Research

2. Where Can I Find Preprints?

Citing a Preprint

To cite a preprint, use the style specified where you are publishing. Typically, you are asked to submit citations in NLM, APA, AMA or MLA style (see table below). If the style guide you are using does not specify a format for preprints, use the style for an unpublished manuscript. Be sure to include the location of the preprint in its repository and the digital object identifier (DOI).

Common Citation Styles for Preprints

NLM National Library of Medicine
APA American Psychological Association
AMA American Medical Association
MLA Modern Language Association

You can find the NLM guidance on citing preprints in Citing Medicine. Based on this guidance, an example for citing preprints in NIH award reporting can be found in the NIH Notice, Reporting Preprints and Other Interim Research Products.

For example:

Bar DZ, Atkatsh K, Tavarez U, Erdos MR, Gruenbaum Y, Collins FS. Biotinylation by antibody recognition- A novel method for proximity labeling. BioRxiv 069187 [Preprint]. August 11, 2016 [cited 2017 Jan 12]. Available from:

When viewing a record for a preprint in PubMed or PubMed Central (PMC), you can use the Cite feature to automatically format a preprint citation in your preferred format.

PubMed Cite Feature Example Screenshot of PubMed entry showing the citation tool

A handy tool for automatically formatting citations in proper style can also be found freely in My NCBI Bibliography . This function is also in commercially available reference management software.


Check your knowledge from the 2. Where Can I Find Preprints? section by answering the following questions:

  1. Explore several preprint repositories listed in the ASAPbio preprint server directory. Make sure to scroll to the bottom of the page.

a) Name three you might use to search topics of interest to you.

b) Name three that might be appropriate for you to post your own work.

  1. Which of the following criteria apply to preprints found in PubMed? (Select all that apply).