What is a preprint?

A preprint is a complete scientific manuscript that is uploaded by the authors to a public server.  The preprint contains complete data and methodologies; it is often the same manuscript being submitted to a journal (see FAQ on submitting preprints).  After a brief quality-control inspection to ensure that the work is scientific in nature, the author’s manuscript is posted within a day or so on the Web without peer review and can be viewed without charge by anyone in the world. Based upon feedback and/or new data, new versions of your preprint can be submitted; however, prior preprint versions are also retained.  Preprint servers allow scientists to directly control the dissemination of their work to the world-wide scientific community. In most cases, the same work posted as preprint also is submitted for peer review at a journal.  Thus, preprints (rapid, but not validated through peer-review) and journal publication (slow, but providing validation using peer-review) work in parallel as a communication system for scientific research.

Learn more about preprints

Visit the preprint FAQ to learn more about submitting preprints, what they mean for scooping, and preprints in general.

We also have resources on choosing a license for your preprint.

Browse our collection of further readings about preprints.

Keep up to date

See funder policies recognizing and encouraging preprints and other interim research products.

See university policies about preprints.

Take action

What happens when you preprint? Hear first-hand stories from biologists.

Ready to spread the word about preprints? There are many ways to help awareness grow.