As adoption of preprints has grown over recent years, researchers have made use of a variety of platforms to share the early drafts of their manuscripts. In addition to the existing preprint servers, there are also many institutional or generalist repositories where authors can deposit their manuscripts – Zenodo, for example, lists over 6,000 records labeled as a preprint. In last year’s survey by ASAPbio and COAR, two thirds of the responding repositories indicated that they hosted preprints. The survey results also highlighted that many repositories did not yet provide features that could support greater transparency around preprint hosting as well as visibility for the preprint copies deposited.
COAR and ASAPbio convened a Working Group of repository representatives with the goal of documenting recommended practices for managing preprints in institutional and generalist repositories. Over the last six months the Working Group has reviewed different functionalities and processes involved in the handling of preprints and discussed areas of particular relevance for repositories that host or seek to host preprints.
The Working Group is pleased to share Ten Recommended Practices for Managing Preprints in Generalist and Institutional Repositories, which are grouped within three broad areas: linking, discovery, and editorial processes. The recommendations highlight the value of clearly labeling records as preprints and linking them to other associated objects, such as other preprint versions, journal versions of record, peer reviews or datasets. The recommendations also encourage transparency about any moderation or screening processes applicable to preprints and designation of situations where a preprint may be removed.
Summary table of recommended practices for managing preprints
|Linking preprint versions, journal article version, and peer reviews|
1. Offer a step in the submission process for authors to provide information about other preprint versions, accepted manuscripts, journal article versions, and external peer reviews
2. When this information is available, indicate that there is related content in the repository metadata record using “dc:relation” field or “isIdenticalTo”, “isVersionOf”, “isPreprintOf” or “hasReview” and include the PID of the external resource
3. When the information is available, link to related versions and external peer reviews on the landing page of the preprint
4. For each new version of a preprint in the repository, assign a unique PID and include a version number that represents their updates sequentially
5. In addition to versions and reviews, enable authors to link to other related resources such as data, code or other associated outputs
6. Ensure preprints are integrated into domain and preprint discovery and indexing systems
7. Clearly indicate in the metadata record and on the landing page that the document is a preprint, working paper, or other domain specific term
8. Include a text banner on the landing page of the preprint that informs readers that the document is a preprint
9. Clearly indicate on the landing page or on the repository website what type of moderation or screening processes has been applied to the preprints
10. If a preprint has been removed, retain the metadata and a landing page (tombstone page) that designates its status as “withdrawn” in the metadata
We recognize that repositories will vary widely in their existing practices and in the resources and technical features they may have available to incorporate some of the recommendations. We hope that the recommendations will help inform future development at repositories that currently host preprints, and serve as a guide for any new platforms seeking to include preprints as part of the objects they host. We would like to thank all members of the Working Group for sharing their experience and for their input toward the development of the recommendations.
We welcome feedback on the recommendations. Feel free to contact Jessica Polka, Executive Director, ASAPbio, Iratxe Puebla, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Community, ASAPbio, or Kathleen Shearer, Executive Director, COAR with any comments or suggestions.