Authors : Olivier Pourret, Dasapta Erwin Irawan, Jonathan P. Tennant
In recent years, the pace of the dissemination of scientific information has increased. In this context, the possibility and value of sharing open access (OA) online manuscripts in their preprint form seem to be growing in many scientific fields. More and more platforms are especially dedicated to free preprint publishing.
They are published, non-peer-reviewed scholarly papers that typically precede publication in a peer-reviewed journal. They have been a part of science since at least the 1960s.
In 1990, Tim Berners-Lee created the World Wide Web to help researchers share knowledge easily. A few months later, in August 1991, as a centralized web-based network, arXiv was created. arXiv is arguably the most influential preprint platform and has supported the fields of physics, mathematics and computer science for over 30 years.
Since, preprint platforms have become popular in many disciplines (e.g., bioRxiv for biological sciences) due to the increasing drive towards OA publishing, and can be publisher- or community-driven, profit or not for profit, and based on proprietary or free and open source software. A range of discipline-specific or cross-domain platforms now exist, with exponential growth these last five years.
While preprints as a whole still represent only a small proportion of scholarly publishing, a strong community of early adopters is already beginning to experiment with such value-enhancing tools in many more disciplines than before.
The two main options for geochemists are EarthArXiv and ESSOAr. A “one size fits all” model for preprints would never work across the entire scientific community. The geochemistry community needs to develop and sustain their own model.