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From Preprint to Publication

Live preprint journal clubs provide early feedback for PLOS ONE authors

We love it when preprints go on to be accepted as formal journal publications and we are especially excited to announce that EMT network-based feature selection improves prognosis prediction in lung adenocarcinoma, a featured preprint in our Open Access week event, is now published in PLOS ONE!

In October, we celebrated OA Week’s theme of “Designing Equitable Foundations for Open Knowledge” by teaming up with PREreview to host virtual preprint journal clubs where researchers from around the world could share their expert opinions on preprints AND get credit for their reviews. Thanks to this event, the authors of this preprint received crowd-sourced feedback on their work even as their submission underwent formal peer review by PLOS ONE.

Lead author Borong Shao took advantage of the unique opportunity to participate in the discussion and we asked her to tell us what she thought of preprints and the virtual journal club experience. Read her thoughts below:

Can you tell us a little bit about your research? What made you decide to post the work as a preprint?

We were working on the topic of molecular signature identification using multiple Omics data. The reason why we posted our work was to let our new results reach the research community. Based on our experience, preprint works are also read and discussed by researchers, as well as the formally accepted ones.

How does your field or research community feel about preprints in general?

In my opinion, preprints are welcomed if the work has a great idea to share. This can assist or even inspire other researchers in their work without waiting for the article to be formally accepted.

Tell us about your experience discussing your preprint at a live journal club—How did you feel about the opportunity?

I was a bit nervous because I had no such experience before. I wondered whether the audience would have positive or negative opinions about my work, although I think my work has its value. I was excited too, because our work is read by researchers all over the world. Some of them are from a relevant but not the same discipline. I was curious to know their opinions on our manuscript.

Did you use any of the feedback from the virtual journal club? Did you find this kind of feedback useful in general?

Both my professor and me found the suggestions from the virtual journal club very helpful. They gave us useful advice from the viewpoints of both readers and researchers. Much of the feedback can be implemented in a short time to improve the quality of our work. Some other feedback can be learned and used in our future research. There were a few mistakes that we might not have found out, if not learned from PREreview feedback.


Preprints aren’t just helpful to authors– early comments from your community can also help editors at the journal conduct their evaluation of the work. PLOS ONE Academic Editor Aamir Ahmad had the opportunity to handle Dr. Shao’s submission and felt that the early feedback process was “a great initiative… the feedback was excellent in general and the authors did a good job of incorporating the changes.”

PLOS wholeheartedly supports preprints and the myriad benefits they offer researchers.  We’re making it easier for authors to share their work as a preprint, immediately upon submission, through our posting service in partnership with bioRxiv and we were happy to find another partner in PREreview who have pioneered live preprint journal clubs for early discussions like these to take place.

You can find more information on preprints here and live-streamed journal clubs here. Please also join us in congratulating Dr. Shao and her co-authors on their recent publication!


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