What is a preprint?

A preprint is a scientific manuscript that is uploaded by the authors to a public server. The preprint contains data and methods, but has not yet been accepted by a journal. While some servers perform brief quality-control inspections (see details on the practices of individual servers), the author’s manuscript is typically posted online within a day or so without peer review and can be viewed (and possibly translated, reposted, or used in other ways, depending on the license) without charge by anyone in the world. Most preprint servers support versioning, or the posting of updated versions of your paper based upon feedback and/or new data. However, most servers also retain prior preprint versions which cannot typically be removed to preserve the scholarly record. Preprints allow scientists to directly control the dissemination of their work to the world-wide scientific community.

Have more questions about preprints? Visit our FAQ.

Learn more about preprints

Browse our infographics and FAQ about preprints, including special sections for submitting, scooping, and licensing.

Current policies and practices

Discover funder, journal, institutional, and server policies.

Share stories & get involved

Ready to spread the word about preprints? There are many ways to help awareness grow.

Learn more about preprints

Frequently Asked Questions

Preprint FAQ

Learn more about submitting preprints, what they mean for scooping, and preprints in general. (Versión en español, version française, 中文版本)

Licensing FAQ and infographic

Get help choosing a license for your preprint and understanding preprints & copyright.

Videos and further reading

Browse our collection of further readings about preprints.

Watch a recent webinar on preprints organized by ASAPbio Fellows at right, or find more videos in our YouTube channel.

Current policies and practices

The growth of preprints over time (EuropePMC)

See statistics on preprints posted to different servers, cumulatively and per month. Note that not all preprint servers relevant to biology are listed in this graph.

Illustration of coronavirus particle

Preprints & COVID-19

Preprints have played a significant role in disseminating information relevant to SARS-CoV-2.

See journal practices and policies.

See university policies about preprints.

See funder policies encouraging preprints.

Explore preprint server policies and practices.

Get involved

What happens when you preprint?

Hear first-hand stories from biologists and others about their experience preprinting and the impact it had on their science and interactions with their community.

Spread the word about preprints

There are many ways to help awareness grow, but here are a few of the simplest.

@aidarodrigo

Request some free stickers to show those around you how you use preprints.

Add this slide to your talks to introduce the concept of preprinting to your audience.

Find more talk slides and other resources by ASAPbio and community members.

The ASAPbio community is a group of researchers and others involved in research communication who interact and exchange information and feedback around the use of preprints.