Four years of chemistry preprints | Feature | Chemistry World

“Then, in August 2017, two things happened. First, the SSRN preprint server (originally for social sciences and currently run by publishing giant Elsevier) launched an offshoot called the Chemistry Research Network (ChemRN). Then, a week or so later, ChemRxiv was launched by the American Chemical Society (ACS) – it is now run as a collaboration between the ACS, the Royal Society of Chemistry and the chemical societies of China, Japan and Germany….

Neither was initially welcomed with wholly open arms into the chemistry community. An insistence – especially from some journal editors – that depositing work caused it to lose the required novelty to warrant publication in their journals was the biggest issue, explains Donna Blackmond, a professor of chemistry at the Scripps Research Institute in California, US, and a member of the ChemRxiv scientific advisory board.


At the start, some chemistry journals accepted submissions that had been preprinted, some did not and many others left authors guessing by not having a preprint policy at all. It took about year for all the chemistry journals to accept preprints, says Blackmond. The ACS flagship journal, the Journal of the American Chemical Society, held out the longest….

Four years after their launch, the preprint servers are now finding their feet in the chemistry community. In 2020, 5137 preprints were posted on ChemRxiv and 3538 on ChemRN. The same year, ChemRxiv preprints were accessed a total of 16,120,921 times and ChemRN pre-prints downloaded 499,553 times….”


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