McGoogan News

Preprints: Where to Post and How to Cite

By Emily Glenn

The National Institutes of Health recently shared a notice about reporting preprints and interim research products in NIH award applications and reports: Reporting Preprints and Other Interim Research Products (NOT-OD-17-050) ( This guide advises authors that they may include publicly available preprints and interim research products–which cite NIH awards–in their NIH report materials. Preprints and interim research products are not required to be publicly posted or to be reported.

What are Preprints?
Preprints, often called e-prints, are a complete and public draft of a scientific document, typically unreviewed manuscripts, written in the style of a peer-reviewed journal article. Researchers post preprints to speed dissemination, establish priority, obtain feedback, and offset publication bias. Preprints are not indexed in literature databases.

Where Can Preprints be Posted?
Authors may choose post preprints on discipline-specific preprint servers, such as bioRxiv, arXiv, or PsyArXiv, or on sites like Figshare.

BioRxiv, a preprint server for articles covering all aspects of research in the life sciences, is hosted by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory. Each paper posted to bioRxiv is assigned a preprint DOI (papers with journal-issued DOIs cannot be submitted.) Readers may add public comments to articles on bioRxiv., operated by the Cornell University Library, hosts preprints in physicis, mathematics, computer science, and quantitative biology, finance, and statistics. DOIs are not assigned in ArXiv, so users should also plan on posting their preprints directly to a site like Figshare to obtain a DOI.

PsyArXiv is an interactive digital repository for papers on psychological science. DOIs are assigned at upload.

Figshare is a site that allows users to upload any file format and display that content in a browser. Figshare is especially useful for posters, presentations, datasets and code–items that are challenging to disseminate in a way that current scholarly publishing models allow. DOIs are assigned at upload.

Wherever items are posted, authors must still follow publisher requirements regarding sharing works prior final publication. Many publishers allow some version of scholarly articles to be posted in the author’s institutional repository. Permissions for many publishers can be found at SHERPA RoMEO ( The library can assist authors with selecting a Creative Commons ( license that allows authors to retain copyright.

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