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Promoting Academic Research: What is a Preprint?

Preprints are a mechanism of sharing your research with the scientific community prior to formal publication. They are not peer-reviewed publications. Their use can increase communication and collaboration within the scientific community.1 Preprints have been used for decades in the field of physics where they have been hugely successful. However, the biology research community has been hesitant to accept preprints as part of research culture.

In order to investigate this, ASAPBio was created as an initiative exploring the productive aspects of preprints for the life sciences.2 As preprints become more prevalent, journals are accepting work that is preprinted for submission. This allows early dissemination and discussion of the latest research while also giving scientists the opportunity to publish in a traditional format to gain points for tenure. Currently there are two biology preprint servers: BioRxive3 and PeerJ.4