New preprint server for medical researchBMJ 2019; 365 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.l2301 (Published 05 June 2019) Cite this as: BMJ 2019;365:l2301
- Claire Rawlinson, publisher,
- Theodora Bloom, executive editor, The BMJ
- 1BMJ, London, UK
- Correspondence to: T Bloom
Preprints—preliminary versions of research articles—have been circulated among researchers for many decades. Initially, hard copies of manuscripts would be sent to collaborators and peers around the world for comments before formal journal submission. With the advent of the internet, physicists, in particular, embraced electronic circulation of preprints, primarily on the arXiv (https://arxiv.org/) preprint server. Researchers in the life sciences have followed suit more recently,1 particularly using the bioRxiv preprint server (https://biorxiv.org). But clinical researchers have been slower to embrace electronic preprints for fear of their potential to cause harm.
The main arguments in favour of sharing work in its preliminary form are, firstly, that science works faster if work is made available sooner after it is completed and, secondly, that articles are improved by feedback from a wider group of readers, alongside formal peer review by a few experts. Simple estimates suggest that halving the delay to sharing a research result can double the …