Publication of manuscripts in a peer-reviewed journal often takes weeks, months or even years from the time of initial submission, because manuscripts must undergo extensive reviewer critique. The need to quickly circulate current results within a scientific community has led researchers to distribute documents known as preprints, which are manuscripts that have yet to undergo peer review. The immediate distribution of preprints allows authors to receive early feedback from their peers, which may be helpful in revising and preparing articles for submission. (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Preprint)
Since 1991, preprints have increasingly been distributed electronically on the Internet, rather than as paper copies. This has given rise to massive preprint databases such as arXiv.org and to institutional repositories.
It is the belief till now that preprint server concept is the reserve of angry physicists, beardy mathematicians, and unwashed computer scientists. But biologists, especially genomic researchers, are starting to submit their papers with a hope
– to immediately getting the valuable work out there and
– this environment encourages open discussion”.
Importantly, posting to a preprint server does not preclude publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Loman provides a rundown of recent papers posted on arXiv or the preprint discussion site Haldane’s Sieve and stresses that these are all “quality manuscripts” that haven’t been “dumped there because they couldn’t get past the PLOS Onereviewers, or something equally banal.”
Read more at:
- ArXiv’s funding future boosted by hedge fund charity (blogs.nature.com)
- Posting palaeo papers on arXiv (svpow.com)
Preprint server by research field
arXiv – physics
The e-print archive arXiv.org (pronounced “archive”) was created by Paul Ginsparg in 1991 at Los Alamos National Laboratory for the purpose of distributing theoretical high-energy physics preprints. In 2001, arXiv.org moved to Cornell University and now encompasses the fields of physics, mathematics, non-linear science, computer science, and quantitative biology. Within the field of high-energy physics, the posting of preprints on arXiv is so common that many peer-reviewed journals allow submission of papers from arXiv directly, using the arXiv e-print number.
In some branches of physics, the arXiv database may serve as a focal point for the many criticisms made of the peer review process and peer-reviewed journals. In his column in Physics Today, April 1992, David Mermin described Ginsparg’s creation as potentially “string theory’s greatest contribution to science”.
Nature Precedings – biology, medicine, chemistry, earth science
Nature Precedings was a free electronic repository for preprints of scientific manuscripts, posters, and unpublished observations. It was operated from 2007–2012 by Nature Publishing Group.
viXra – any fields