Today, we’re happy to share a preprint written by a subset of the participants in December’s Recognizing Preprint Peer Review Meeting hosted by ASAPbio, HHMI and EMBO. It’s an exciting time for preprint review, with new services, models, and policies providing the foundation for a growing ecosystem. At the same time, the diversity in the space provides an opportunity to redefine peer review and to further improve the culture of feedback and communication that happens around the revision of scientific papers. Our paper offers a definition of preprint review and what sets it apart from other types of more informal feedback on preprints. We also cover the benefits of preprint review, an overview of the current landscape, strategies for avoiding pitfalls, and thanks to Sciety, its growth over time. Finally, we make calls to action for stakeholders in the scholarly communication ecosystem to further promote preprint review.
Monthly growth of preprint review. Data provided by Sciety.
Defining preprint feedback and review
Preprint feedback is publicly available commentary on a preprint that is written by a human.
A preprint review is a type of preprint feedback that has:
- Discussion of the rigor and validity of the research
- Reviewers’ competing interests declared and/or checked
- Reviewer identity disclosed and/or verified, for example by an editor or service coordinator, or ORCID login
Calls to action
- Individual researchers
- Request reviews and feedback for the next preprint that you post by submitting to a review service (such as Peer Community In, eLife, Review Commons, PeerRef, etc) and/or including an explicit invitation to review on the first page of your preprint or other public location.
- Write preprint reviews following recommended good practices (see FAST principles) and post them as citable objects using a service such as PREreview, Qeios, or ScienceOpen. These may be reviews requested by a journal editor (see Publish Your Reviews) or those you decide to write independently. Consider informing authors about your review ahead of posting and leave them time to provide a thoughtful response.
- Agree to review preprints when invited by platforms such as Peer Community In, Review Commons, Rapid Reviews\Infectious Diseases, and eLife.
- Convert your lab or graduate program journal club to a preprint review club in which discussions are written up, shared with the preprint authors for feedback, and publicly posted.
- List preprint reviews on your lab website or via a tool like Sciety to promote their visibility.
- Funders, departments & institutions
- Consider preprints and their reviews in evaluations for funding, hiring, degree requirements, fellowship eligibility, tenure, or promotion. Make this consideration explicit on your website and in application instructions, for example by adopting a CV format that enables listing preprints and their reviews (where candidate is an author of a preprint) and reviews of preprints (where candidate is a preprint reviewer).
- Allocate funding and support for preprint review services.
- Accept preprint reviews as transferred reviews to inform editorial decisions.
- Encourage or require preprint posting at submission.
- Partner with preprint review initiatives.
- Consider posting reviews on preprints prior to acceptance.
- Implement a written policy encouraging preprints and preprint reviews. Suggested text has been recommended by the Journals & Preprint Review Projects Working Group.
- Consider adopting a preprint-review model for your journal (e.g., eLife, Peer Community Journal).
- Implement preprint scoop-protection policies (examples: EMBO Press, PLOS, The Company of Biologists) to allow time for preprint review to proceed.
- Preprint review services
- Facilitate preprint reviews meeting the criteria above, investing additional editorial or technical resources into validating identity and addressing competing interests as required.
- Create machine-readable metadata for preprint reviews, for example by registering DOIs or providing an API.
- Preprint servers, indexing & search tools
- Link preprints to reviews in a human- and machine-readable fashion.
- Partner with preprint review services to allow authors to solicit reviews at the time of submission.
- Journalists and other non-specialist readers
- Seek preprint reviews to provide additional perspectives on research you may cover or use.
Find the paper on OSF Preprints. We invite everyone to provide feedback and reviews of this paper and to share them publicly.