Lack of sustainability plans for preprint services risks their potential to improve science | Naomi Penfold, March 2nd, 2023 | Impact of Social Sciences

“…it is critical we explore how to sustain a viable and vibrant ecosystem of preprints infrastructure that is independent of commercial publishers – this is not yet assured. This infrastructure includes servers through which preprints are shared online, as well as tools and services that support the use of preprints. arXiv is a preprint server that is considered essential in several communities in physics, computer science and other quantitative disciplines. Despite successfully building a revenue model that shares the burden between Cornell University, the Simons Foundation and several members and supporters, arXiv’s “funding is still outpaced by [their] growth” – the server hosts over 2 million preprints already and is growing by 10% each year. And while arXiv has been supporting more and more scholars to share and discover preprints, the team behind it has been through significant changes in leadership and is dealing with the urgent need to modernize their 30-year-old technology. As a former Executive Director of arXiv noted, “[arXiv’s success] may not last forever”. Similarly, the recent news that Chan Zuckerberg Initiative has renewed its financial support for the leading preprint servers in biology and medicine, bioRxiv and medRxiv is welcome relief, but this support is temporary, and the team must find a way to continue in the long run. Unfortunately, without greater transparency in the governance of bioRxiv and medRxiv, we do not know if there is anything stopping them from being acquired by a commercial publisher….”

Next steps for preprint review infrastructure | Naomi Penfold, Feb 7, 2023 | Invest in Open Infrastructure

“…This meeting brought together preprint review initiative leads with funders, publishers, and researchers to discuss policies and practices that could encourage the adoption and development of preprint review in biology. There are different views on the future for preprint review: as a replacement for journals, a complement to the existing system, and/or a training exercise to grow and diversify the reviewer pool. Overall, this meeting highlighted the opportunity to use preprints to build a more collegial and constructive culture of peer review (than that typically experienced at journals). While the focus of the meeting was on policies and practices to encourage the adoption of preprint review, including how to incentivize researchers to contribute reviews, we noted some specific needs and gaps to consider in relation to investing in open infrastructure:

Efforts to encourage adoption need funding. As well as investing in the technical infrastructure enabling preprint review, we heard the call for funders to support initiatives that encourage scholars to try out preprint review, and that nurture the envisaged culture of collegiality. This support could be provided directly by funders through programmes for the scholars they fund and indirectly through investment in adoption-focussed projects by initiatives. In particular, in this nascent phase of preprint review, now is an opportune moment to fund initiatives focussed on improving diversity and inclusion in the scholarly communications process.
Preprint servers will need to evolve alongside preprint review initiatives to support a seamless experience for scholars. If preprint review is to be seen as a trusted and valuable contribution, and something worthwhile for researchers to read and use, it will be important to communicate its value clearly from the points at which researchers interact with preprints. Major points of interaction today are through two of the largest preprint servers for the life sciences, bioRxiv and medRxiv. We heard several users report how preprint reviews are not easy to find on the current site design, and that the banner on each preprint stating it has not been reviewed can be misleading. The banner text for preprints that have received reviews has recently been updated to read “This is a preprint. It has not been certified by a journal but peer reviews are available”. We also heard the rationale behind current design decisions at bioRxiv. We think it will be important for preprint server(s) and review services to continue to improve their user experience and design to meet the evolving needs of users. Several technology requirements for preprints as a whole, including review services, have already been noted. Drawing upon the ethos of open source development here, it may be helpful for preprint infrastructure funders to nurture an ecosystem that centers the needs of a diverse research community in design processes.
It’s too early for preprint review initiatives to have a plan for financial sustainability….”

Optica Publishing Group announces the launch of Optica Open | News Releases | Optica

“Optica Publishing Group (formerly OSA) launched Optica Open today, a new preprint server dedicated to advancing optics and photonics around the globe. Preprints are publicly available, preliminary scholarly articles posted ahead of formal peer review and publication in a journal. Authors can conveniently transmit their Optica Open preprint submissions to an Optica Publishing Group journal or their journal submissions to the preprint server, a first for the optics and photonics community. The Optica Open site is now open for submissions.

Harnessing Figshare’s preprint server capabilities, Optica Open helps authors achieve their open science goals and establish priority of their latest research results. All posted preprints will receive a Digital Object Identifier (DOI), are citable and will be indexed by Google Scholar and Crossref. As with other preprint servers, articles posted to Optica Open are not peer reviewed, although authors may benefit from receiving feedback from their peers. Submissions are screened by subject-matter experts to ensure general relevance to optics and photonics and compliance with the basic submission requirements, including a plagiarism check with iThenticate….”

Model(s) of the future? Overlay journals as an overlooked and emerging trend in scholarly communication | The Canadian Journal of Information and Library Science

Abstract: Overlay journals, a potentially overlooked model of scholarly communication, have seen a resurgence due to the increasing number of preprint repositories and preprints on coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) related topics. Overlay journals at various stages of maturity were examined for unique characteristics, including whether the authors submitted their article to the journal, whether the peer reviews of the article were published by the overlay journal, and whether the overlay journals took advantage of opportunities for increased discovery. As librarians and researchers seek new, futuristic models for publishing, overlay journals are emerging as an important contribution to scholarly communication.


Preprints als Informationsquelle besser nutzbar machen – TH Köln

From Google’s English:  “In the project PIXLS – Preprint Information eXtraction for Life Sciences, TH Köln and ZB MED will develop an application over the next three years that automatically opens up the preprint server. This enables the research community to make better use of current information that was published on preprint servers – and therefore hardly appears in classic detection and search systems.

The German Research Foundation (DFG) is funding the project as part of the e-Research Technologies framework programme.”

PLOS partners with EarthArXiv for 2023 – Latitude

“We are pleased to announce that PLOS has entered into a partnership with EarthArXiv—a preprint server focused on earth and planetary science, with an emphasis on interdisciplinary research. EarthArXiv is a community-based server, governed by a diverse advisory council with representatives from many regions and institutions, and hosted by the California Digital Library (CDL), an organization committed to open scholarship.

This relationship will open new opportunities for authors submitting to PLOS Climate, PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, and PLOS Water to post preprints with ease. Beginning early in 2023, submitting authors will have the option to automatically forward their manuscript to the EarthArXiv preprint server, directly from our submission system….”

PLOS announces partnership with EarthArXiv

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) today announced that it has partnered with EarthArXiv, which enables authors submitting to PLOS Climate, PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, and PLOS Water to post preprints with ease. Beginning next year, submitting authors will have the option to automatically forward their manuscript to the EarthArXiv preprint server, directly from our submission system.

Springer Nature completes acquisition of multi-disciplinary preprint platform Research Square Company | Library Technology

London, UK and New York, NY — December, 1 2022. RSC comprises American Journal Experts (AJE), which provides best-in-class AI-powered and professionally delivered author solutions, and Research Square, the world’s number one multi-disciplinary preprint platform.

After a long partnership and period of partial ownership, Springer Nature has increased its investment in Research Square Company (RSC) to take full ownership.

The acquisition reflects the shared ambition of the two companies to provide faster, better, quality-assured author solutions. This includes helping authors improve their manuscripts prior to submission and share their research both before and after publication.

It will strengthen Springer Nature’s ability to provide solutions designed to better meet the needs of all researchers and bring forward the open science revolution. For example:

AJE’s best-in-class digital editing tools and leading Research Impact Solutions help authors get published and increase awareness of their research post publication

Research Square’s multidisciplinary preprint platform allows every author to enjoy the benefits of sharing their research early


Directory of Open Access Preprint Repositories: Home

“It is becoming an increasingly common practice for researchers to share their preprints because it allows them to disseminate their research results quickly and openly with the rest of the world. As a result, there is a growing number of preprint-specific and generalist repositories that support the sharing of preprints.

This directory provides a list of preprint repositories that are available to the research community. It helps researchers find the most appropriate platform for them, enabling them to browse through existing repositories by discipline, location, language, functionalities, and other facets.

The directory is jointly managed by Centre pour la Communication Scientifique Directe (CCSD) and Confederation of Open Access Repositories (COAR). The data in this directory was originally compiled through the GPPdP (Groupe Projet Plateformes de Prepublications) project, with financial support from the French Ministry of Research’s Open Science Committee (CoSO)….”

Preliminary investigation: Supporting open infrastructure for preprints | Invest in Open Infrastructure, 3 October 2022

“…We are concerned that the preprints ecosystem is not yet financially sustainable, with services dependent on substantial voluntary and in-kind contributions that aren’t fully accounted for in financial plans and are not reliable for long-term strategic planning. The majority of preprints are not shared using open infrastructure. Overall, we find the potential of preprints in open scholarly communication is not yet fully realized and is at risk from competition with for-profit, commercial, and other proprietary solutions. While developments in the existing journal publishing ecosystem make it possible to more rapidly share work, we risk losing the opportunity for this activity to be done on community-governed infrastructure built on open source tools that is transparent and accountable to its stakeholders. To address these challenges and concerns, we recommend work to:

Raise awareness of the potential benefits and drawbacks of using existing open services for preprints as shared infrastructure.
Support research and development (and testing) of business models that could work at a larger scale.
Advocate for increased investment in projects and initiatives that support preprints to enable more inclusive and equitable participation in science and scholarship.”

The Case For Supporting Open Infrastructure for Preprints: A Preliminary Investigation | Naomi Penfold | Invest in Open Infrastructure, 3 October 2022

Summary: “Preprints are being used across multiple scholarly disciplines – at varying levels of adoption. In this research, we asked: what is the current situation with preprints and open infrastructure for them, and how could IOI pursue work to further investment and sustain activities in this space?”

Five Years of ChemRxiv: Where We Are and Where We Go From Here | Chemical Education | ChemRxiv | Cambridge Open Engage

“ChemRxiv was launched on August 15, 2017 to provide researchers in chemistry and related fields a home for the immediate sharing of their latest research. In the past five years, ChemRxiv has grown into the premier preprint server for the chemical sciences, with a global audience and a wide array of scholarly content that helps advance science more rapidly. On the service’s fifth anniversary, we would like to reflect on the past five years and take a look at what is next for ChemRxiv.”

Making sense of preprints by adding context – The Publish Your Reviews initiative | Impact of Social Sciences

“Improving scientific publishing is often framed as an issue of openness and speed and less often as one of context. In this post, Ludo Waltman and Jessica Polka make the case for a more contextualised approach to open access publishing and preprinting, and introduce the Publish Your Reviews initiative. Launched today by ASAPbio, the initiative allows reviewers to provide richer contextual information to preprints by publishing peer reviews and linking them to the preprint versions of the articles under review….”

Wolters Kluwer expands commitment to open science | Research Information

“To support the evolution of medical publishing toward higher velocity exchange of scientific findings, Wolters Kluwer, Health announced two key additions to the Lippincott® portfolio. The Lippincott Preprints, powered by Figshare, serves as a forum for sharing pre-review medical findings with the global medical community and the Lippincott Data Repository enables researchers to share data from their clinical experiments for greater transparency and deeper validation of findings.  …”

Wolters Kluwer expands commitment to open science | Wolters Kluwer

“To support the evolution of medical publishing toward higher velocity exchange of scientific findings, Wolters Kluwer, Health announced two key additions to the Lippincott® portfolio.

The Lippincott Preprints, powered by Figshare, serves as a forum for sharing pre-review medical findings with the global medical community and the Lippincott Data Repository enables researchers to share data from their clinical experiments for greater transparency and deeper validation of findings….”