On the value of preprints: an early career researcher perspective

Authors : Sarvenaz Sarabipour​, Humberto J Debat, Edward Emmott, Steven Burgess, Benjamin Schwessinger, Zach Hensel

Peer-reviewed journal publication is the main means for academic researchers in the life sciences to create a permanent, public record of their work. These publications are also the de facto currency for career progress, with a strong link between journal brand recognition and perceived value.

The current peer-review process can lead to long delays between submission and publication, with cycles of rejection, revision and resubmission causing redundant peer review.

This situation creates unique challenges for early career researchers (ECRs), who rely heavily on timely publication of their work to gain recognition for their efforts. ECRs face changes in the academic landscape including the increased interdisciplinarity of life sciences research, expansion of the researcher population and consequent shifts in employer and funding demands.

The publication of preprints, publicly available scientific manuscripts posted on dedicated preprint servers prior to journal managed peer-review, can play a key role in addressing these ECR challenges.

Preprinting benefits include rapid dissemination of academic work, open access, establishing priority or concurrence, receiving feedback and facilitating collaborations. While there is a growing appreciation for and adoption of preprints, a minority of all articles in life sciences and medicine are preprinted.

The current low rate of preprint submissions in life sciences and ECR concerns regarding preprinting needs to be addressed.

We provide a perspective from an interdisciplinary group of early career researchers on the value of preprints and advocate the wide adoption of preprints to advance knowledge and facilitate career development.

URL : On the value of preprints: an early career researcher perspective

DOI : https://doi.org/10.7287/peerj.preprints.27400v1

Citation Count Analysis for Papers with Preprints

Authors : Sergey Feldman, Kyle Lo, Waleed Ammar

We explore the degree to which papers prepublished on arXiv garner more citations, in an attempt to paint a sharper picture of fairness issues related to prepublishing. A paper’s citation count is estimated using a negative-binomial generalized linear model (GLM) while observing a binary variable which indicates whether the paper has been prepublished.

We control for author influence (via the authors’ h-index at the time of paper writing), publication venue, and overall time that paper has been available on arXiv. Our analysis only includes papers that were eventually accepted for publication at top-tier CS conferences, and were posted on arXiv either before or after the acceptance notification.

We observe that papers submitted to arXiv before acceptance have, on average, 65\% more citations in the following year compared to papers submitted after. We note that this finding is not causal, and discuss possible next steps.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1805.05238

The evolving preprint landscape: Introductory report for the Knowledge Exchange working group on preprints

Authors : Jonathan Tennant, Serge Bauin, Sarah James, Juliane Kant

In 1961, the USA National Institutes of Health (NIH) launched a program called Information Exchange Groups, designed for the circulation of biological preprints, but this shut down in 1967 (Confrey, 1996; Cobb, 2017).

In 1991, the arXiv repository was launched for physics, computer science, and mathematics, which is when preprints (or ‘e-prints’) began to increase in popularity and attention (Wikipedia ArXiv#History; Jackson, 2002). The Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN) was launched in 1994, and in 1997 Research Papers in Economics (Wikipedia RePEc) was launched.

In 2008, the research network platforms Academia.edu and ResearchGate were both launched and allowed sharing of research papers at any stage. In 2013, two new biological preprint servers were launched, bioRxiv (by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory) and PeerJ Preprints (by PeerJ) (Wikipedia BioRxiv; Wikipedia PeerJ).

Between these major ongoing initiatives were various, somewhat less-successful attempts to launch preprint servers, including Nature Precedings (folded in April 2012) and Netprints from the British Medical Journal (Wikipedia Nature Precedings; BMJ, 1999).

Now, a range of innovative services, organisations, and platforms are rapidly developing around preprints, prompting this overview of the present ecosystem on behalf of Knowledge Exchange.

URL : The evolving preprint landscape: Introductory report for the Knowledge Exchange working group on preprints

DOI : https://dx.doi.org/10.17605/OSF.IO/796TU

Prepublication disclosure of scientific results: Norms, competition, and commercial orientation

Authors : Jerry G. Thursby, Carolin Haeussler, Marie C. Thursby, Lin Jiang

On the basis of a survey of 7103 active faculty researchers in nine fields, we examine the extent to which scientists disclose prepublication results, and when they do, why? Except in two fields, more scientists disclose results before publication than not, but there is significant variation in their reasons to disclose, in the frequency of such disclosure, and in withholding crucial results when making public presentations.

They disclose results for feedback and credit and to attract collaborators. Particularly in formulaic fields, scientists disclose to attract new researchers to the field independent of collaboration and to deter others from working on their exact problem.

A probability model shows that 70% of field variation in disclosure is related to differences in respondent beliefs about norms, competition, and commercialization. Our results suggest new research directions—for example, do the problems addressed or the methods of scientific production themselves shape norms and competition?

Are the levels we observe optimal or simply path-dependent? What is the interplay of norms, competition, and commercialization in disclosure and the progress of science?

URL : Prepublication disclosure of scientific results: Norms, competition, and commercial orientation

DOI : http://advances.sciencemag.org/content/4/5/eaar2133

How Many More Cites is a $3,000 Open Access Fee Buying You? Empirical Evidence from a Natural Experiment

Authors :  Frank Mueller-Langer, Richard Watt

This paper analyzes the effect of open access (OA) status of published journal articles on peer recognition, as measured by the number of citations. Using cross-sectional and panel data from interdisciplinary mathematics and economics journals, we perform negative binomial, Poisson and linear regressions together with generalized method of moments/instrumental variable methods regressions.

We benefit from a natural experiment via hybrid OA pilot agreements. Under these agreements, OA status is exogenously assigned to all articles of authors affiliated with hybrid OA pilot institutions.

Our cross-sectional analysis of the full sample suggests that there is no citation benefit associated with hybrid OA. In contrast, for the subpopulation of journal articles for which neither OA pre-prints nor OA post-prints are available, we find positive hybrid OA effects for the full sample and each discipline separately.

We address the issue of selection bias by exploiting a panel of journal articles for which OA pre-prints are available. Citations to pre-prints allow us to identify the intrinsic quality of articles prior to publication in a journal.

The results from the panel analysis provide additional empirical evidence for a negligible hybrid OA citation effect.

URL : https://ssrn.com/abstract=3096572

arXiv popularity from a citation analysis point of view

Author : Alireza Noruzi

This study aims to provide an overview of the citation rate of arXiv.org since its launch in August 1991, based on the Scopus citation database. The total number of citations to arXiv in Scopus in the 26 year period was 135,782 of which the highest number of citations was 23,288 in 2016.

It is also shown that arXiv-deposited papers are highly cited by physics and astronomy, mathematics, computer science, and engineering. It can be seen that researchers from the United States, Germany, China, United Kingdom, France, and Italy cite arXiv-deposited papers more than others.

The analysis of document types indicates that articles rank first with 69% of all Scopus documents citing arXiv from 1991-2016, followed by conference papers (24.7%), reviews (3.2%), and book chapters (1.5%).

It can be concluded that arXiv is cited increasingly by different subject areas, by different languages (especially English, Chinese and French), and by various countries.

URL : http://eprints.rclis.org/31996/

The arXiv of the future will not look like the arXiv

Authors : Alberto Pepe, Matteo Cantiello, Josh Nicholson

The arXiv is the most popular preprint repository in the world. Since its inception in 1991, the arXiv has allowed researchers to freely share publication-ready articles prior to formal peer review.

The growth and the popularity of the arXiv emerged as a result of new technologies that made document creation and dissemination easy, and cultural practices where collaboration and data sharing were dominant.

The arXiv represents a unique place in the history of research communication and the Web itself, however it has arguably changed very little since its creation. Here we look at the strengths and weaknesses of arXiv in an effort to identify what possible improvements can be made based on new technologies not previously available.

Based on this, we argue that a modern arXiv might in fact not look at all like the arXiv of today.

URL : https://arxiv.org/abs/1709.07020