The future is now: How science communicators can adapt to preprints | ScienceWriters (www.NASW.org)

” “Publications in peer-review journals are hardly infallible,” Sharon Begley, senior science writer at┬áSTAT,┬áreminded the audience, as she related instances of her own troubles with peer-reviewed research. Rather than rehashing the debate of whether preprints could be used for news stories, the session’s panelists described best approaches for reporters, editors, and PIOs to work with preprints.

To get the room familiar with preprints, Jessica Polka, director of ASAPBio, gave an overview of preprint history and how they foster collaboration. Polka noted that more direct feedback is given to authors to hone the research and development of their piece when it is put onto a preprint server. She highlighted another example of collaboration, in which graduate students start reading clubs to practice their review skills with pre-printed work freely available online.

Begley directed her talk toward science journalists. She pointed out that, when it comes to writing about preprints, “The train has already left the station.” It’s not a matter of if reporters should cover preprints, but of how to do so responsibly. No other news beat works with an embargo, she reminded the audience, “I’m at a loss for why science should be different.” …”