Preprints: Accelerating Research

3. Should I Use a Preprint?

Benefits of Using Preprints

Whether reading or citing preprints or publishing your own, there are several benefits to including preprints as part of your research.

As a preprint user, benefits include:

Accessing timely research in emergency response.

Actively participating in open science practices.

Advocating for high quality, rapid retrieval of information.

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As an example, consider the COVID-19 pandemic. It was critical for research around virus identification, prevention, testing and vaccination to be quickly shared in order to stop the spread and save lives.1

As a preprint creator, benefits include:

Increasing visibility and reach of your research.

Directly contributing to body of open science scholarship.

Encouraging critical engagement with your research from peers.

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The National Institutes of Health encourages investigators to use interim research products such as preprints to speed dissemination and enhance the rigor of their work. NIH-funded investigators may claim preprints as products of their NIH award in their required reports.

In 2019, ASAPbio (or Accelerating Science and Publication in Biology) asserted that the free preprint server bioRxiv had more than 4 million abstract views per month with 1.5 million downloads per month.2

1. Fleerackers, A., Riedlinger, M., Moorhead, L., Ahmed, R., & Alperin, J. P. (2021). Communicating Scientific Uncertainty in an Age of COVID-19: An Investigation into the Use of Preprints by Digital Media Outlets. Health Communication, 1–13.

2. Preprints increase the visibility of your work! ASAPbio. (2020).