For the purpose of this workshop, we are using ‘preprints’ to describe life sciences and biomedical research content that is shared openly before peer-review on online platforms, and typically in the format of complete research manuscripts.
A group of life science research funders has previously proposed – see https://asapbio.org/principles – that preprints should:
- adhere to standard scholarly publication practices, including ethical, legal and societal standards;
- be accompanied by clear funding acknowledgements, declaration(s) of competing interests and availability of supporting data (such as data availability statements, permissively licensed data);
- be easy to use, with rich search and discovery tools and visible usage metrics;
- be usable for text and data mining (TDM), ideally with full-text available via APIs, and with permissive licensing, which is explicitly stated in a machine-readable way;
- aim to attract widespread community support.
- posting and commenting should be incentivised; and
- the preprinting ecosystem should be interoperable and leverage existing standards.
Recommendations made at a previous ASAPbio technical workshop (reported by Chodacki et al, 2017; https://doi.org/10.3897/rio.3.e11825) were:
- “Manuscripts must be screened by humans before posting, and takedown policies need to be implemented in a standardized fashion.”
- “Promote data sharing. The service should make it easy for authors to refer readers to data, software and other relevant materials. Encourage and facilitate deposition of data in appropriate repositories.”
- “Directly accommodate deposition of supplementary files (such as figures, movies, and text), which should be given their own unique identifiers and be preserved and indexed appropriately.”
- “Focus on standards. Use schema.org compatible meta-tags and recognized API standards such as OAI-PMH or equivalent. Use the standard persistent identifiers adopted by the community so that we can systematically link up resources, people, and organizations. For example, include person identifiers, document identifiers, identifiers for data, etc., and authenticate them to the extent possible.”
- “Make markup consistent. Engage with JATS4R or similar initiatives and follow existing recommendations on tagging.”
- “Stay simple. Accept submissions in Word format and LaTeX and display them in PDF from day 1. The originally submitted files should also be retained and made accessible for mining and processing.”
- “Streamline transfers. Support simple transfer of articles to traditional journal workflows.”
- “Support open source conversions. Request and support the creation of an open-source document conversion tool from popular formats like Word and LaTeX to consistent markup (JATS and/or XHTML).”