5 Interesting Facts about Preprint: Future of Research

Onikle Inc.
Published in
4 min readNov 29, 2021


Image by Atsutaka Odaira

The typical academic publication process of a journal is extremely time-consuming. The entire publishing process, from conducting research, drafting a paper, submitting for peer review, editing or rewriting if rejected, to ultimate publication, may be a long and arduous journey that can take several or even a dozen months. This is a significant issue in our fast-moving society, especially for people involved in science. There are many researchers out there who are anxious to disclose their findings as quickly as possible. To speed up the process of discovery, to gain credit, or simply to benefit the world. As a result, the preprint servers were born.

What is Preprint?

Preprints are drafts of scientific articles that researchers distribute by uploading them to preprint servers prior to peer review and publication in an academic journal. Instead of sending to a journal, researchers use the preprint to gain feedback or share their findings.

#Fact 1

Preprints reach an audience 14 months earlier on average and have five times more citations than non-preprints. 41% of preprints are eventually published in a peer-reviewed platform.

Researchers who register preprints are required to update the metadata record when a journal article is later published in order to clearly identify this work (depending on the repository). This pairing is sent on to our metadata users, which include indexing systems, recommendation engines, platforms, tools, and other applications that use APIs. (The paper must also be linked from the preprint landing page.) As a result, the number of preprint-article pairs grows by the week.

#Fact 2

Although preprints account for only 4% of research articles, their quantity has surged by 63 times in the last 30 years.

According to Crossref, the research enterprise is increasing at an astonishing rate of 2.5 million records each month — scholarly communications of all shapes and sizes. Preprints are one of the most rapidly expanding categories of information. While preprints are not new, their increase has been impressive: 30 percent in the last two years (compared to article growth of 2–3 percent for the same period).

#Fact 3

192,000 preprints were produced in the first nine months of 2020, accounting for 6.4% of all papers published during the same time period.

For some time, preprints have been increasing in popularity and volume, a trend hastened by the COVID-19 epidemic, which has thrust them firmly into the limelight. The scientific community’s response to the global health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic has resulted in an unprecedented number of manuscripts being produced in a short period of time, the vast majority of which have been shared in the form of preprints posted on online preprint repositories prior to peer review. This spike in preprint publishing has garnered a lot of attention. Preprints have been critical in furthering our understanding of SARS-CoV-2.

#Fact 4

When looking at particular domains, physics, mathematics, and economics have the most preprint culture; computer science and biology have shown an increase in popularity in the last 5 years.

The preprint phenomena was first seen in physics in 1991. To promote the debate of article drafts, particle physicist Paul Ginsparg established the arXiv archive for preprint publications. The server’s popularity rose quickly, and it now accepts papers in subjects other than physics, such as mathematics, statistics, and computer science. The text is publicly available, and uploading is free. Certain checks are undertaken before the text is released, such as checking that the content represents scientific research, but it has not been peer reviewed.

#Fact 5

There are more than 50 preprint repositories. When selecting it is critical to specify their academic breadth as well as compare and contrast rules such as governance, licensing, archiving techniques, and the nature of any screening procedures.

One of the most popular preprint repositories is arXiv. arXiv now has over 1.3 million articles and is managed by Cornell University in New York. Preprints are extensively cited, and Google Scholar rates one of arXiv’s sections as the 21st most cited scientific publication. The majority of the articles submitted are later published in a journal.

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