In the present day reward system, journal publications play a major role in funding and promotions. For such reasons, the vast majority of research-paper preprints in physics (ie, not meeting proceedings, reviews, etc) are also submitted to journals (see slide 13 in Paul Ginsparg’s talk), even though work is one’s field is generally always seen and discussed first as a preprint.
However, journals provide many services for improving and validating work, which are labor-intensive:
- Journals provide an infrastructure for peer review and quality control. Journal-based peer review remains the present-day gold standard of validation, despite its shortcomings.
- Many journals offer copyediting and other production services that enhance the final version, or Version of Record.
- Visibility of work is promoted by broad journal readership or added journal features (highlights, perspectives, coordination of press releases, etc).
- A paper can improve through revisions and editorial corrections.
- A journal can provide assurance that the authors have complied with standards of the field for database depositions, conflict of interest disclosures, and other issues.