‘Preprints’ are how cutting-edge science circulates. Banning them from grant applications penalises researchers for being up-to-date

“A sudden rule change by the Australian Research Council — to ban grant applications that cite preprint material — has deemed 32 early and mid-career researchers ineligible to receive critical funding….

The researchers were caught unaware by the rule, which many consider unworkable and unethical. It is out of step with the way science operates….

All these applications were in physics or astronomy. Ten of the disqualified applicants were from the University of Melbourne and Sydney alone — many at make-or-break career points.

In addition to the effect on the applicants themselves, this wasted significant time, effort and resources devoted by university grant administrators, academic mentors and expert reviewers.

Australia’s National Medical Health and Research Council (NHMRC) allows preprints to be used. So do all international funding agencies that we know of, such as the US National Science Foundation (NSF) and the European Research Council (ERC)….

To have no mechanism to cite the most up-to-date available knowledge presents an ethical dilemma: how to properly credit the work of others, which either hasn’t yet been peer-reviewed or was never intended for peer review….

The Australian research community has united to express concern about the ARC’s rule. The Australian Institute of Physics, the Royal Australian Chemical Institute, the Australian Mathematical Society, and Astronomical Society of Australia have coordinated an open letter, signed by many leading scientists, urging the ARC to rescind the preprint ban as a matter of urgency….”

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