Editorial policy regarding the citation of preprints in the British Journal of Pharmacology (BJP) – George – – British Journal of Pharmacology – Wiley Online Library

“Because of the increasing number of articles submitted to BJP over the past year and that cite preprint material, the Editor-In-Chief and Senior Editors with the full Editorial Board of BJP have undertaken a review of the issues and our discipline-relevant data to set policy on the issue of preprint citation for the Journal….

The discussion so far has highlighted the negative aspects of preprints, but it is important to be balanced in our considerations and to note that, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the availability of preprints has been viewed as a key factor in the break-neck speed with which the biomedical research community has shared research on insights regarding the biology and clinical features of the infection, resulting in the rapid and timely delivery of much needed therapeutic options (Else, 2020)….

An excellent example is the Randomised Evaluation of COVID-19 Therapy (RECOVERY) trial which showed the benefit of the simple and low-cost utility of dexamethasone that has saved many lives globally. The RECOVERY trial was published as a preprint on 22 June 2020 (Horby et al., 2020) and as a peer-reviewed article published as an epub in the New England Journal of Medicine on July 17th 2020 (RECOVERY collaborative group, 2021). Whilst it is highly likely that the preprint publication and sharing of the results saved lives during the short time between preprint posting and full publication, the data were made available to regulatory authorities and clinicians prior to full publication….



The Editorial Board of the BJP support the principles of preprinting. However, given the potential risks associated with allowing the citation of preprints, it is our collective view, supported by feedback received from the journal’s international Editorial Board, that BJP should take all reasonable steps to avoid perpetuating these risks….

We are aware that the issue of preprint citation is under discussion at COPE and that the British Pharmacological Society is establishing a working group to review this issue more broadly across its publications. Thus, the stated editorial position will be reviewed, and if solutions to the problems highlighted above emerge, we will revisit our policy….”

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