Standards and the Role of Preprints in Scholarly Communication | NISO website

“One vision (hereafter, referred to as “model”) for preprint publication, disclosed in an evolving preprint [1], focuses on physics preprints in arXiv. This focus is natural, given that physicists and allied practitioners of other mathematical and quantitative fields have been long-standing adopters of preprints. Unsurprisingly, arXiv has therefore played a lead role in the preprint space. Preprint servers that share the “-rXiv” suffix with arXiv have emerged.

The model may never materialize in pristine form. This would take decades at a minimum. However, it provides one analytical framework for understanding the interplay of various components of scholarly journals publishing and for thinking about how preprints can mitigate problems that beset this complicated market. (A new version of the aforementioned preprint will further develop this critique, which is beyond the scope of this paper and discusses open access generally.)

The model suggests that journal publishing and preprints in physics should be increasingly symbiotic. They have distinct roles that reflect historically recurring needs in physics (and STEM) publishing generally….

The model suggests, by contrast, that journal articles take the form of traditional review articles [5] that cite other journal articles, conference proceedings, books, and — increasingly — research disclosed over several preprints. Journal articles should play a pedagogical role in orienting researchers and students to new fields, creating narratives about newly emerging trends, contextualizing discoveries, and fostering interdisciplinary research.

The model calls for the journal market to contract significantly but not entirely as preprints supplant journal articles as the place to disclose small slivers of research. Re-purposing journal articles and correspondingly trimming their numbers will decrease demand for journal subscriptions that pressure budget-strapped libraries. An increased emphasis on review articles will assist researchers in navigating their fields, help counter hyper-specialization, and make the inter-generational transmission of science much more efficient. Also, contracting the journals market and re-purposing it almost exclusively toward review articles can save genius-hours spent doing peer-review, time better spent doing research disclosed in preprints, writing or reviewing integrative journal articles, and teaching….”