Overviews on preprinting

The underlying problem: speed of communication

  • A Need to Accelerate Communication in Biology. Ron Vale’s article detailing changes in publication in biology over the past three decades and the potential benefits of the widespread use of preprints is now. Available at PNAS and previously released as a preprint on bioRxiv.
  • A Substantial Increase in Article Length also Noted in Applied Math and Economics. Articles in journals from the Society of Industrial and Applied Mathematics have increased significantly in length over time. Similar trends of increasing article length and authors have been observed for economic journals as well.

Historical perspectives

  • Harold Varmus’s 1999 essay on E-biomed. Many of the topics relevant to ASAPbio have been discussed in the biomedical community for many years.  For example, E-biomed, proposed by Harold Varmus in 1999, would have had some of the features of a modern preprint server. You can download the original proposal here (.docx format). More details on how the system evolved into PubMed Central are available here.
  • The prehistory of biology preprints: A forgotten experiment from the 1960s. Matthew Cobb describes the rise and fall of the Information Exchange groups, paper distribution networks that operated via photocopying and the postal service. Final version in PLOS Biology (2017-11-16) and a preprint (2017-08-22) in PeerJ Preprints.

Opinion pieces and calls to action

  • NY Times Op-Ed calls for wider use of preprints. In their September 17, 2015 opinion piece, “Don’t Delay News of Medical Breakthroughs,” Eric Topol and Harlan Krumholz call for rapid publication of scientific results.