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Preprints: Home

What is a Preprint?

A preprint is:

 A preprint is a scholarly manuscript posted by the author(s) in an openly accessible platform, usually before or in parallel with the peer review process. Source: COPE.

 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. Source: ASAPBio.

A complete written description of a body of scientific work that has yet to be published in a journal. Typically, a preprint is a research article, editorial, review, etc. that is ready to be submitted to a journal for peer review or is under review. It could also be a commentary, a report of negative results, a large data set and its description, and more. Source: Bourne PE, Polka JK, Vale RD, Kiley R. Ten simple rules to consider regarding preprint submission. PLoS Comput Biol. 2017 May 4;13(5):e1005473. doi: 10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005473.

A version of a scholarly or scientific paper that precedes formal peer review and publication in a peer-reviewed scholarly or scientific journal. The preprint may be available, often as a non-typeset version available free, before and/or after a paper is published in a journal. Source: Wikipedia.

COVID-19 Preprints

Interested in COVID-19 preprints? See: COVID-19 Resources: Preprints.


Version Manuscript/Definitions
Preprint Manuscript before peer review.
Postprint Manuscript after peer review that includes changes made by the author as a result of the peer review process; also called the final, peer-reviewed manuscript version.
Galley Proof The publisher's draft copy of the published version sent to the author for review before publishing.
Final The publisher's final version of the manuscript that includes the DOI, publisher icons, pagination, graphics, etc.; also called the "version of record.

Preprints in Medicine Presentation by Dr. Joseph Ross

Dr. Joseph Ross, MD, MHS, presented a talk as part of Open October 2020: Preprints in Medicine: More Promise or Pitfall for Research Transparency? (59.07)







Note: Access is limited to the Washington University campus.


This guide contains information about preprints and will be updated to include new developments and policies.
Questions? Cathy Sarli or Amy Suiter

New NLM Preprint Pilot Project

The National Library of Medicine (NLM) launched a pilot project to test the viability of making preprints resulting from NIH-funded research related to SARS-CoV-2 virus and COVID-19 research available via PubMed Central (PMC) in 2020. As of 2024, all NIH-funded preprints are available in PMC.