We need your help for an urgent action this week.
The NIH released a RFI (request for information) on “including preprints and interim research products in the NIH applications and reports.” ASAPbio, and many individual scientists, responded with arguments in favor of providing scientists with the option, not requirement, of citing preprints in NIH applications/reports as public evidence of their most recent work and productivity. Several other scientific societies (including Wellcome Trust, MRC, HFSP, Simons Foundation, and the Helmsley Trust) have already implemented new policies on preprint citation in grants in the last 6 months.
FASEB, a scientific society claiming to be the voice of 125,000 scientists, issued a strong negative response to the RFI on allowing preprints to be used in NIH grant review. We, junior and senior scientists of the ASAPbio Board of Directors, feel that there are many deeply problematic issues with FASEB’s arguments including 1) an unfamiliarity with preprints and even an articulation of incorrect information, 2) a lack of transparency of how they derived their decision, and 3) a view that there is “no need to read” original scientific papers, which we feel is not the type of culture that the funding agencies should foster in order to promote excellence in grant review.
Because FASEB claims to speak for many societies and many scientists, their letter (signed only by the FASEB President) could be given disproportionate weight by the NIH (for a past historical example of how societies undermined a biology preprint server in 1999, see the open access version of this article). ASAPbio therefore has written this detailed response to FASEB, which will be sent to FASEB and the NIH.
We are also collecting signatures of scientists who support the option to cite preprints in NIH grant applications and reports until January 23, 2017. Please take 1 minute to sign your name here if you agree that the NIH should allow the option of citing preprints in grant applications and reports. These signatures will be sent to the NIH.
Please pass along this message or use your social networks to contact as many of your friends and colleagues as possible.
Thank you for your help!