Preprints Involving Medical Research—Do the Benefits Outweigh the Challenges? | Medical Journals and Publishing | JAMA | JAMA Network

“During the COVID-19 pandemic, and perhaps thereafter, investigators may continue to want their findings released and shared as rapidly as possible, but such speed to widespread public dissemination vs sharing within a community of specialists most likely to understand the complexities of the science and concerns to public health or without rigorous editorial evaluation and peer review before publication does not come without consequences and potential for harm.29,30 For many investigators, preprints may be considered an initial step along the scientific dissemination and publication pathway, just as abstract, poster, and video research presentations at in-person and virtual scientific meetings have a role in the early sharing and discussion of studies among specialist communities before publication in a journal. While manuscripts previously posted as preprints may be improved following formal submission to a journal and undergoing editorial evaluation, peer review, revision, and editing, others may not be suitable for formal publication because of methodologic flaws, biases, and important limitations. Authors should share preprints during the processes of manuscript submission to journals, just as they do with study protocols and registration reports, to aid journal editors in the evaluation of the quality of the reporting of the study and prioritization for publication. Preprints and preprint servers are here to stay, but perhaps in the immediate future a more selective use of these sites may be warranted, with clinical investigators exercising caution when the focus of a study is on drugs, vaccines, or medical devices and the results of a study may directly affect treatment of patients.”