Researchers avoid preprints when possible, publisher’s survey says

“A recent survey by academic publisher Springer Nature suggests academics strongly prefer to read and cite final versions of journal articles over earlier drafts….

Nearly 1,400 ResearchGate users responded to the survey in early 2020. A majority of survey respondents said when given the choice between an earlier version of a journal article and the final published version of record, they would choose the final version, viewing it as the most credible and authoritative source. When citing an article in their own work, 83 percent of respondents said they preferred to use the version of record over earlier versions….

It is not particularly surprising that academics say they would choose version-of-record articles over preprint versions of the same article, said Jessica Polka, executive director of ASAPbio, a group that advocates for the open publication of STEM research.

In a recent analysis of articles published on preprint servers bioRxiv and medRxiv, Polka and her colleagues found relatively few differences between preprint articles and their final published counterparts….

While staff at Springer Nature have worked over the past two years to increase their collaboration with ResearchGate, staff at several other major academic publishers have actively tried to distance their companies from the site and diminish its role in the research information landscape — an interesting division in approach.

In 2018, publishers including Elsevier and the American Chemical Society formed a group called the Coalition for Responsible Sharing. This group sent thousands of take-down notices to ResearchGate demanding the site remove unauthorized copies of journal articles. Elsevier and ACS have also filed copyright infringement lawsuits against ResearchGate, legal battles that are still working their way through American and German courts….”