Why preprint review is the way forward | Research Information

“However their growth in popularity has also highlighted a lack of systems of review around preprints that mean readers cannot easily assess the quality of new findings. This is the great opportunity for the future of research communication – bringing expert peer review and curation to the preprint literature.

A number of organisations are now doing just that, by embracing models that combine the speed and openness of preprints with expert peer review, full publication and curation. Some of them – eLife and Biophysics Colab, for example – are working with a shared vision in mind: a publishing ecosystem in which the significance of research is recognised on its own merits and independently of journal title. Some other models – including those used by PREreview and ASAPbio–SciELO Preprints crowd review – also take advantage of the open nature of preprints to enable researchers from groups traditionally underrepresented in science to participate in public review.

A few examples of these organisations and their respective models are described below. Together they represent significant community efforts to bring review and curation to preprints, and show how alternative models could work in a more open future for research….”

ASAPbio Crowd preprint review 2023 sign-up form

“Following our activities the last two years, ASAPbio is running further preprint crowd review activities in 2023. Our goal is to provide an engaging environment for researchers to participate in providing feedback on preprints and support public reviews for preprints.

In 2023, we will be hosting three groups that will collaboratively review preprints in the disciplines below: 


Meta-research: Practices, policies & infrastructure on open science and scholarship e.g. preprints, open access, open education, research impact
Molecular and cellular neurobiology: focus on neurodevelopment and neurodegeneration
Computational neuroscience: Computational, theoretical and data-driven approaches in understanding brain function, neuroinformatics and bioinformatics
Cancer biology: Biochemical, molecular and cellular studies in relation to cancer…”

Crowd preprint review – ASAPbio

“While there is increasing interest in preprint review activities, the level of public commenting and reviewing on preprints remains low overall. To explore review modalities that may foster participation in preprint review, in 2021 ASAPbio started activities to facilitate public reviews on preprints inspired in the crowd review model pioneered by the journal Synlett. We coordinated a group of researchers who commented on cell biology preprints resulting in 14 public reviews – you can read more about last year’s trial here. We saw a high level of reviewer engagement, so we continued the activities in 2022, when we involved three groups focused on cell biology (bioRxiv preprints), biochemistry (bioRxiv preprints) and infectious diseases preprints in Portuguese from SciELO Preprints. Our activities resulted in 27 public reviews for bioRxiv preprints and 13 reviews for SciELO Preprints.

Motivated by the positive response, we will pursue further crowd preprint review activities in 2023, involving several groups lead by 2023 ASAPbio Fellows….”

ASAPbio’s response to the NIH Plan to Enhance Public Access – ASAPbio

“ASAPbio is a 501(c)(3) organization working to promote innovation and transparency in life sciences communication. 

We are fully supportive of the 2022 OSTP directive to make all federally-funded research immediately accessible upon publication. Based on the public access plan the NIH has proposed in response to this memo, we appreciate the NIH’s desire to ensure equitable access to research for diverse stakeholders, and to ensure that this is provided at reasonable costs that do not exacerbate existing disparities. Furthermore, we support the need to ensure that research outputs are findable and discoverable through robust infrastructure and standards.

Many of these goals can be supported by moving toward a model where preprints are the primary form of sharing; this would also provide a strong foundation for aligning researchers’ incentives with the goals set out in the RFI. Many researchers now experience a disconnect between wanting to share work with the community and existing incentives for keeping data private. In a preprint-centric model, researchers would be recognized for sharing their work early and completely, which would also accelerate scientific discovery. Preprints also support rigor, reproducibility, and integrity by allowing broad engagement in public commenting and peer review. Given these benefits, we offer the following suggestions for using preprints to promote equitable, cost-effective, and discoverable publishing….”

ASAPbio’s NIH RFI information session and response workshop

“The US NIH has released a Request for Information (RFI) about its proposed public access policy (https://grants.nih.gov/grants/guide/notice-files/NOT-OD-23-091.html).

This is an important opportunity for researchers and other community members to voice support for open access and open science. Responses, which can be written by anyone, are due April 24.

Join ASAPbio for an RFI information session and response workshop where we will share relevant background information and important talking points and provide a supportive environment for silent writing. You will also be able to ask questions about the RFI, solicit feedback, and get help submitting your response….”

Become a preprint advocate: apply now to be a 2023 ASAPbio Fellow – ASAPbio

“Are you new to preprints and want to learn more about their use? Have you been wondering what the buzz is about preprint review? Have you been using preprints for a while and now want to engage others? Then our Fellows program is for you!

The use of preprints in the life sciences has grown over recent years, and an important driver has been community support for preprints. At ASAPbio we recognize that outreach by community members is invaluable in driving awareness about preprints, and we want to empower existing and new community members in driving these conversations, particularly with colleagues in regions or disciplines where preprints are still not common.

To support the members of our community who want to deepen their engagement with preprints, we have since 2020 hosted the ASAPbio Fellows program. We are now thrilled to open applications for the fourth cohort of the program. 

The ASAPbio Fellows program provides participants with a comprehensive overview of the preprint and preprint review landscape. The program provides opportunities to explore trends, tools and the outlook for preprints in the life sciences while connecting with others interested in preprints and science communication. The program also allows Fellows to help shape and develop ASAPbio strategic initiatives, or to take forward a project of their choice. Our 2023 Fellows program will run from April to November, and is now open for applications until 24 March 2023….”

Preprints in Progress – ASAPbio

“During the pandemic, research communication and progress accelerated through the massively increased posting of preprints. There are over 38,000 preprints in the NIH’s iSearch COVID-19 portfolio covering topics from molecular virology to epidemiology and treatment. Although the increased use of preprints is a positive development, most preprints still take the form of traditional research papers posted shortly before submission to a journal. As a result, preprints generally appear 4 or 5 months prior to journal publication. However, preprints can be used to share research findings at any stage of the research cycle, as they offer much greater flexibility than journals in terms of the length and format of articles that can be posted. Preprints also provide a way for researchers to receive credit for their work, get community feedback, and establish collaborations with researchers who have related interests, without having to wait for publication in a journal.

We believe that it is now time to take a further step towards accelerating research, by substantially expanding the range of work that is shared via preprints. We envisage preprints reporting a wide variety of findings, including early-stage results from a small set of experiments, negative or inconclusive findings that might never be included in a journal article and no doubt much more. Crucially, any such work must still be communicated in a way that other researchers can build on the work, for example by including all relevant data and details of methodology….

We encourage researchers to preprint their research results as their work progresses, including work they may or may not to submit for journal publication. We include below examples of the types of outputs for which preprints can enable dissemination and feedback, but note that this is not an exhaustive list, we hope that additional uses will arise according to the needs of specific communities….”

Do you have a preprint in progress and want constructive feedback? Submit it for discussion at the ASAPbio-PREreview live-streamed preprint journal clubs – ASAPbio

“Preprints provide a great avenue for researchers to get feedback on their work from the community. This type of community feedback is particularly valuable when gathered on early preprints, that is, on manuscripts that are still work-in-progress, prior to their submission for journal publication. The feedback from the community can allow authors to get a sense of what parts of the work are particularly appreciated by their peers, what can be improved in the write up of the research, and give them ideas for further experiments or lines of research.

To highlight the value of sharing early work via preprints and the benefits of community feedback, ASAPbio and PREreview are partnering to host live-streamed preprint journal clubs for early preprints (the event will follow the format of PREreview Live-streamed preprint journal clubs as described here). During the journal club, participants will discuss the preprint with a focus on highlighting the positive aspects of the work and on offering constructive suggestions for next steps for the study. After the collaborative discussion, we will post a summary of the discussion on PREreview’s platform for preprint reviews. The review will therefore receive a digital object identifier (DOI), and participants will have the option to be recognized for their contribution.

We invite authors of early preprints who would like feedback on their work to submit their work for discussion at one of these journal clubs….”

Survey points to key two challenges with preprint feedback: recognition and trust – ASAPbio

“In preparation for the Recognizing Preprint Peer Review workshop, ASAPbio integrated input from two working groups to prepare a survey for researchers, funders, and journal editors and publishing organization employees. The survey sought to gather views and experience with preprint feedback and review from a broad range of stakeholders, to help inform the conversations at the workshop.

The survey garnered 230 responses, and we share here summaries of the two largest categories of respondents: 161 responses from researchers and 51 responses from journal editors and publishing organization employees. You can view the results on Google Sheets and on Zenodo….

Most respondents had received no feedback on preprints, which, for the purpose of this survey, we defined as any public commentary on preprints. Of those who had received some feedback, only a small fraction indicated that the feedback came in the form of detailed reviews. 

With few researchers having received feedback, perhaps it’s unsurprising that a significant number of them expressed concerns with the prospect: the most significant concerns related to hesitancy about the quality or fairness of the feedback and about the commenter’s motivations for providing it.

However, more than half of respondents said they’d be likely or very likely to request feedback on their preprints if journals incorporated preprint reviews into editorial decisions or treated them like reviews transferred from another journal. Other potential incentives, such as funders recognizing preprint peer reviews in various ways, were not far behind….”

‘Open science and preprints’ lecture at the University of Belgrade – Raising awareness about preprints in the Serbian community – ASAPbio

“On 2 December 2022, the Faculty of Chemistry of the University of Belgrade (Serbia), hosted a lecture concerning open science and preprints. The event was supported by ASAPbio and aimed to raise awareness around preprints and their place within open science among the local Serbian researchers, and to encourage this community to post preprints for their research works….”

Ten Recommended Practices for Managing Preprints in Generalist and Institutional Repositories – COAR

“It is clear that institutional and generalist repositories have an important role to play in supporting preprint sharing worldwide.

To address these gaps, a COAR-ASAPbio Working Group on Preprint in Repositories identified ten recommended practices for managing preprints across three areas: linking, discovery, and editorial processes. While we acknowledge that many of these practices are not currently in use by institutional and generalist repositories, we hope that these recommendations will encourage repositories around the world that collect preprints to begin to apply them locally….”

Sciety welcomes ASAPbio–SciELO Preprints crowd review for the evaluation of Brazilian-Portuguese preprints | For the press | eLife

Sciety is pleased to announce the first non-English group to bring open review and curation to the platform: ASAPbio–SciELO Preprints crowd review. Based in Brazil, the group reviews preprints relating to infectious disease research that are posted on the SciELO Preprints server in Brazilian Portuguese.