Funder policies

Several funding agencies have changed their policies surrounding using preprints, and others are considering doing so. We’re collecting relevant examples here. If you have references for us to add, please contact us.


NIH (March 24, 2017)

“The NIH encourages investigators to use interim research products, such as preprints, to speed the dissemination and enhance the rigor of their work.”

“Interim research products can be cited anywhere other research products are cited.”

HHMI (January 30, 2017)

“HHMI laboratory heads may also wish to consider depositing articles in a preprint server, such as BioRxiv. The Institute recognizes deposited, publicly-available preprints as evidence of productivity and will accept them for purposes such as laboratory head reviews.”

“If an Institute laboratory head whose appointment is up for review submits in his or her collection of significant papers an article that has been submitted for publication, but is not yet ‘in press’, then HHMI will not consider the article in the review unless it has been deposited in a preprint server from which it is available to the public. Deposit in a preprint server must occur before the article is submitted for the HHMI review. This policy is effective for investigators who will be reviewed after January 1, 2018. (The investigator is responsible for compliance with the preprint policy of the selected journal.)”

Wellcome Trust (January 10, 2017)

“As of January 2017, we will permit researchers to cite preprints, or pre-peer reviewed manuscripts, in their grant applications and end-of-grant review reports.

Medical Research Council (January 3, 2017)

“…we are allowing researchers to cite preprints in their grant and fellowship applications. This will come into effect with applications received after 1 April 2017…

Preprints may be cited in applications only if they have a permanent identifier such as a DOI or any other persistent identifier.

To discourage ‘salami-slicing’ and because most findings in pre-prints are subsequently included in peer reviewed publications, preprints should only be referenced when they are less than five years old at the time the application is submitted. This requirement will be kept under review.

Human Frontiers Science Program (December 12, 2016)

“The Board of Trustees of the International Human Frontier Science Program Organization (HFSPO) has decided that for competitions starting in calendar year 2017, applicants may list preprint articles in the publication section of HFSP proposals. Current HFSP awardees are also permitted to cite publications which are deposited in freely available preprint repositories in interim and final reports to the Organization.”

Helmsley Trust (September 29, 2016)

“We are excited to announce an important update to our Helmsley grantmaking process, which will now encourage all prospective and current research grantees to list preprint publications in their applications and interim reports.

EMBO Long-Term Fellowships (for postdocs)

“Papers published in preprint servers (arXiv, BioRxiv, PeerJ…) will be taken into consideration, but at least one first-author article in an international peer reviewed journal is required at the time of application (see above). Papers submitted or in preparation, but not yet accessible to the community, will not be considered and should not be included in the list of publications.”

Simons Foundation Policies and Procedures (September 1, 2016)

“The Simons Foundation encourages PIs to post preprints on recognized servers, such as arXiv or bioRxiv, in parallel with (or even before) submission to a peer-reviewed journal.”

Chan Zuckerberg Investigatorships

“In the interests of accelerating scientific discovery, the Biohub will establish a publication policy for open and rapid dissemination of research results: all Investigators will be required to post manuscripts on Arxiv on the date of submission to peer-reviewed journals.”

CIHR Peer Review Manual for Grant Applications

“Communications, quick-print reports, letters and electronic distribution of pre-prints are important vehicles for disseminating research results. All such contributions should be treated equally when assessing quality and impact, and reviewers should not regard certain types as “second class” or “grey literature.””

Under consideration

NIH Request for information (RFI): Including Preprints and Interim Research Products in NIH Applications and Reports

“If a scientist wants to cite an interim research product in an NIH application or report, the citation should meet certain standards.  These standards might include:

  • Ensuring the document is preserved, findable, and freely accessible to people and machines
  • Links to other versions and associate data and resources
  • Attribution and disclosure of authorship, funding, competing interests, licensing, and other issues used in high-quality scholarly publication
  • A clear statement that the product is preliminary, and the level of peer-review it has received (if any)

Note, NIH does not intend to require awardees to create interim research products.”