On January 20 and 21, 2020, over 30 representatives from preprint servers, publishers, funders, standards, indexing and metadata infrastructure organisations, and beyond, gathered at EMBL-EBI to develop ambitious but achievable recommendations for metadata and processes that would improve the discoverability, reuse, and interoperability of preprints in the life and biomedical sciences. After two days of discussions and group work, the participants sensed the early seeds of community spirit and were excited to continue working together to make collective progress for preprints.
At the workshop, we heard progress reports from preprint platforms, before other stakeholders outlined their current preprints-related work, thoughts and visions. Through a series of talks and breakout discussions, we highlighted challenges and opportunities regarding preprint metadata, screening and withdrawal processes, highlighting preprint review status and data availability, and continued adoption and sustainability of preprints. The general consensus was that preprint servers and other infrastructure providers should work together to enable and empower researchers to communicate their work with greater speed and transparency, and to ensure that preprints are treated as legitimate research outputs. At this relatively early point in the development of preprinting in biology, we have an opportunity to ensure we get practices and processes right for both authors and readers.
The group worked together to develop recommendations and identify the next practical steps to improve preprinting infrastructure and processes, including:
- Core metadata for indexing
- Consolidated approaches to versioning
- Clear definitions of withdrawal and removal
- Surfacing different review events around a preprint
- Linking preprints with published versions
- Methods to encourage data availability at the point of preprint
- Automated and machine-assisted processes for screening submissions at scale
- A shared framework of expectations for preprint platforms: from screening checks to governance
- Engaging different stakeholders (editors, researchers, librarians, funders) to support adoption and maintenance
- Sustainable business models, archiving and long-term preservation
The action points are organised on Trello (https://trello.com/b/0Q7PaG8Y/biopreprints2020) and a full workshop report will be shared in due course. Participants, the agenda and links to public workshop notes and presentation slides are available from https://asapbio.org/meetings/preprints-roadmap-2020.
We thank Johanna McEntyre, Mariia Levchenko and others at the EMBL-EBI and Wellcome Genome Campus for hosting the workshop, and Oya Rieger, Ithaka S+R, for co-organising and facilitating. We also thank all participants for all they shared and contributed to the gathering, and thank Jeff Dowling for taking the group photograph.
2020-01-30 update – See Oya Rieger’s summary blog post.