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Power to the Preprint: An Update

Earlier this year, we partnered with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to provide authors the opportunity to post their manuscripts as a preprint on bioRxiv through our submission system. In July, we started to implement a new feature linking PLOS articles to their matching bioRxiv preprint—regardless of whether they were submitted through the PLOS integration. This means any article published in a PLOS journal will be linked to its bioRxiv preprint, if posted, and adds on to the existing links from bioRxiv preprints to their journal publications.

What’s the benefit? For starters, it ensures that the early impact of the preprint is visible alongside the publication and enables the reader to learn the paper’s history. Forming these links shows more of the vital history of a research work, with a public life that started as a preprint, was shared online, and continued through peer review to journal publication. By linking papers with their preprints, we hope to make an important part of the paper’s life cycle accessible to our readers.

We actively support preprints as a vital part of the scientific literature. Preprints enable authors to get results out early, gain feedback on their manuscript from a wider community, accrue citations and time stamp their work. Preprints are indexed in Crossref and Google Scholar so they form a documented part of the ‘research story’ for the journal publications that may follow them. In the future we’ll work toward forming links with more preprint servers to ensure this feature is utilized across servers and scientific disciplines.

Our preprint service is free of charge and automated. All you have to do is opt-in when submitting your paper. The feature includes creation of a Preprint PDF from the author’s submission files (optional), screening checks and a seamless deposit to bioRxiv to make this process as easy as possible. Authors can focus on their journal submission, knowing their results will soon be available online as they work through the review process.

Note: PLOS Medicine continues to permit authors to post preprints of their research, but given the particular issues related to research in human health, does not currently offer transfer of submitted manuscripts to bioRxiv.

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