Your Pre-posting Preprint Checklist
Posting a preprint is easy, but there are a few things you’ll want to think about—especially if this is your first post. Are you ready to post a preprint?
- What are your aims for this article, and what do you hope to gain through posting? (e.g. would you like to extend your reach, receive peer review feedback, fulfill best practice, or a combination?)
- Does your institution or funder have any special requirements regarding preprints?
There are cases when sharing results prior to peer review can be dangerous. For example:
- Medical research that might include identifying personal information about a patient
- Research with implications for public health
- Dual use research of concern
Just like submitting a manuscript to a journal, all co-authors must agree to post a preprint. Concerned that your colleagues may not be on board? This preprint offers great advice on securing preprint buy-in from colleagues and advisers.
- Subject area focus
- Copyright licenses available
- Nonprofit vs for-profit status
- Association with a particular funder, corporation, or publisher
- Best practice policies on screening, preservation, and permanence
- Commenting codes of conduct
Do you have a particular journal in mind for this research article? Most major journals welcome submissions that have been previously posted as preprints but there are some exceptions—usually subject-specific clinical journals. If you have your heart set on a particular publication, double-check its preprint policy. The Sherpa Romeo database is a wonderful one-stop resource.
Feel free to post your manuscript in the late draft stages, at or just before the stage when you might submit it for consideration at a journal. Most preprint servers are format agnostic: you’ll just upload a single PDF and provide a small amount of metadata.
PLOS journals offer free facilitated preprint posting to medRxiv and bioRxiv right from the manuscript submission form. When submitting, tick the checkbox to accept or decline, and we’ll take it from there.
You’ll need it when you submit the article for peer review at a journal.
Once your preprint has passed any internal screening process and appeared live on the server, be sure to share it on social media and with your co-authors via email. This is a great time to revisit your goals for the manuscript – if you are looking for comments from the community be sure to note that when you share.