Draft statement 3: use of preprints in job applications and promotions

We, as employers and evaluators of promotions in academics and industry in the life sciences, recognize that a preprint provides valuable evidence for the evaluation of a candidate, even though it has not yet undergone peer review and been accepted for publication by a journal.

  • Work posted on a server recognizes that the recent work of an applicant for a job or promotion, which is often the most interesting and relevant for our evaluation as an employer. The long and variable time in the journal review process often deprives the employer of evidence of such accomplishment.
  • A preprint from a preprint archive could be argued to be superior to a published paper for our evaluation, since it represents the applicants’ own views and standards of what is acceptable to them, rather than the views filtered by the space limitations and interventions of reviewers and editors.
  • Having up-to-date work on the server makes it easier for us to ask an outside party to comment on the work, since it is already disclosed to the community.

We recommend that the preprint citation be listed with other published work and separated cleanly from work in progress or proposed work. We advocate that employers request that work posted on the server be included in an application, rendering it open for formal consideration in the review process.

Survey results

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37 responses. Of the three “no” responses, two did not list caveats for the response. One response was from someone who wrote they could not endorse because of their position in a government agency. Many comments (~17) centered on paragraph beginning “A preprint from a preprint archive could be argued to be superior to a published paper for our evaluation…”  ~3 responses were from those participating virtually.