Collections and Library Services

Scholarly Communications


What are Preprints?

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:

  • Publish your study results immediately and stake your claim
  • Avoid long publication timelines, especially when publications are needed to meet grant or other reporting deadlines
  • Support open science and universal access to scientific findings
  • Increase the speed of dissemination of knowledge
  • Receive feedback or new opportunities for collaboration from your community

Posting a Preprint

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.

Preprint Servers

You can locate preprints through the individual preprint servers that house the preprints, or by literature databases that cover them.

Discipline-Based Collections

Search this directory of discipline-based preprint servers. Selected health- and life science-related servers are listed below:


medicine and health sciences


life sciences


psychological sciences


Multidisciplinary Collections and Search Tools


life sciences 

Research Square








Preprint Coverage in Databases

Web of Science now includes a Preprint Citation Index in its collection of All Databases (start here).

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.

Skip to Main Content

Claude Moore Health Sciences Library
1350 Jefferson Park Avenue P.O. Box 800722
Charlottesville, VA 22908 (Directions)

facebook twitter instagram
© 2024 by the Rector and Visitors of the University of Virginia
Copyright & Privacy