Preprints in medical research: Progress and principles

PLoS Medicine
(Accessed 21 April 2018)

Editorial |
Preprints in medical research: Progress and principles
Larry Peiperl, on behalf of the PLOS Medicine Editors
published 16 Apr 2018 PLOS Medicine
[Initial text]
Sharing of preprints—scientific manuscripts that are posted in a publicly accessible, online repository before peer review for journal publication—can accelerate access to information in infectious disease outbreaks, according to an article published earlier this month by Michael Johansson and colleagues in PLOS Medicine. In an analysis of published articles and those posted on preprint servers, the authors found that preprint posting increased during the 2015–17 outbreak of Zika in the Americas relative to the 2014–15 Ebola outbreak in West Africa, and that preprints, while still used for only a small proportion of papers, provided much earlier access to scientific findings [1].
For medical journal editors who agreed in late 2015 and early 2016 that authors should not be penalized for sharing results in public health emergencies [24], these results signal gratifying progress over practices in 2003, when the severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) epidemic was shown to have ended before 93% of journal articles on the epidemiology of SARS were published [5]…