Preprints are defined as “a scholarly manuscript posted by the author(s) in an openly accessible platform, usually before or in parallel with the peer review process” (Committee on Publication Ethics [COPE], 2018). They are a version of a scientific paper uploaded by the authors to a public server before being submitted to a journal (though not all preprints are published as journal articles).
Benefits of Preprints:
1. Check with your co-authors
Make sure everyone agrees on posting a preprint as well as the choice of preprint server.
2. Choose a preprint server
There are many disciplinary and general options to choose from. You may want to use PubMed or Web of Science to search for preprints on your subject and see where they are posted.
3. Check journal policies
Some journals do not accept articles that have been previously published as preprints, while others specify particular preprint servers. Sherpa is a journal and funder database that provides links to relevant journal policies. It's a good idea to review the policies of any journals to which you might submit the article before posting it as a preprint.
4. Choose a license
You can typically either choose to retain all rights to your manuscript or select a Creative Commons license to encourage adaptation and reuse.
5. Prepare your manuscript
Make sure it conforms to the preprint server's guidelines, including depositing any associated code or supplemental materials.
Adapted from Singh, S.P., Ferguson, C., Ahmad, U., & Puebla, I. (2021). ASAPbio Preprint infographics: post your preprint in 5 steps, Zenodo.
You can locate preprints through the individual preprint servers that house the preprints, or by literature databases that cover them.
Search this directory of discipline-based preprint servers. Selected health- and life science-related servers are listed below:
medicine and health sciences
Multidisciplinary Collections and Search Tools
Preprint Coverage in Databases
PubMed now includes all preprints that acknowledge direct NIH support and/or have an NIH-affiliated author and were posted to an eligible preprint server on January 1, 2023 or later. To search for preprints in PubMed, use the publication type preprint[pt].
Preprint Licensing FAQ
Use the Preprint Licensing FAQ from ASAPbio to assist you with selecting a license for your preprint
SPARC Author Addendum
The SPARC Author Addendum is a legal instrument that modifies the publisher’s agreement and allows you to keep key rights to your articles. This is important if you want to include sections of one of your publications in your later works, give copies to your class or distribute it among colleagues or through your website. Under traditional publication agreements, all rights —including copyright — go to the journal. Use the Author Addendum to keep rights to your article.