Allow preprint citations in ARC grant applications to maximise the value from publicly funded research

“Open Letter to Professor Sue Thomas (CEO of the Australian Research Council) and The Hon Alan Tudge (Minister for Education and Youth)

The signatories of this letter argue that it is in Australian taxpayers’ best interests to allow preprint citations in ARC grant applications. The ARC currently prohibits citations to preprints (see appendix https://tinyurl.com/vjewcp83 for definition) in grant applications (e.g. DP22 funding rules 2.1 “Pre-print publications should not be included in any part of the application form.”). But preprints are an essential and growing part of many fields of research.

Allowing the citation of preprints in ARC grant applications has many benefits:

* It improves our ability to judge and compare grant applications
* It allows for the inclusion and discussion of the latest science
* It speeds up research progress and discovery (such as the COVID-19 pandemic)
* It improves the accuracy with which we can evaluate researchers’ track records
* It establishes priority of discoveries and ideas
* It brings us in line with other major national and international granting bodies (see appendix https://tinyurl.com/vjewcp83)

Referencing preprints is essential for assessing the quality, novelty, benefits, feasibility, and value of any research proposal. It also contributes to assessing the track records of researchers themselves. The ARC is tasked with apportioning $775.3M in public funding every year. Citing preprints will improve the value that Australian taxpayers get for this significant investment. This is common practice by many national and international funding agencies already….”

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