Biology preprints over time

While the practice of preprinting in the life sciences is not completely new, it has grown dramatically over the past few years.

Jordan Anaya, the creator of the preprint search engine, PrePubMed, releases monthly statistics for preprints indexed by his tool.  In addition to the aggregate chart shown below (for October 2017), Jordan also presents new senior authors added per month and a real-time analytics tool that creates graphs for preprints posted in any subject area of a search term of your choice. Try it now.

Jordan Anaya,


European Commission visualization

The European Commission’s Open Science Monitor features a beautiful visualization of the temporal and geographical distribution of preprints in different fields. While this tool includes fewer sources than PrePubMed, it highlights the inchoate nature of preprints in the life sciences compared to other subjects. To view the tool, click the link under “Preprints” here.

Screenshot as of March 22, 2017

(via John Inglis)


Old version of graph from PrePubMed data


Data sources (for old version)

  • ArXiv data were taken from their own statistics pages
  • Nature Precedings counts were taken from search results with date ranges
  • bioRxiv data was kindly provided by Richard Sever
  • All other data were taken from Jordan Anaya’s preprint search engine, PrePubMed, which is open source. We downloaded Jordan’s txt files for each source from his github repository and searched for dates with batch scripts.

We’re happy to update this chart with other sources; please contact us. Thanks to Richard Sever for data and to Jordan Anaya for developing a great open resource for the life science community.

Download source xls