Pre-print servers

When you feel your paper is ready to submit, you may wish to consider posting this version to a preprint server.

Preprint servers are repositories which enable you to post a version, and possible revisions, of your paper online. Typically, authors post their paper to a preprint server before, or at the same time, as submitting to a journal. Some journals will even help transfer your paper to a preprint server on submission.

Alternatively, some journals will not consider a submission if it has been posted to a preprint server. Increasingly, journals are including their policies and processes around preprints in their instructions for authors. Make sure to look for this information on the journal website or see Sherpa/Romeo section Submitted Version Location Preprint Server for journal policy.

Preprint servers are now common in most research disciplines, with the most well known being arXiv (physical sciences), bioRxiv (biology), EarthArXiv (Earth science), as well as multidisciplinary platforms such as OSF Preprints, F1000 Research, ScienceOpen, and many more.

Posting your work to a preprint server can have several benefits, and it is usually free.

  • Increase the speed at which your manuscript becomes available for others to read.
  • Establish your precedence and your authorship of the work on the topic at an earlier stage, by publicly available timestamp.
  • Enable other researchers to give feedback on your paper, which may help improve it prior to your official submission to a journal.
  • Enable researchers to reference and build on your work faster, increasing your research impact and presence in your field.

If you do choose to post your paper to a preprint server, be sure to include this information in the cover letter and additional information of your journal submission.

Once your article is accepted, update your preprint information with the details of the journal, and encourage readers of your preprint to reference your final published version.