January 19, 2022

Consortium of Funders Announce Support to Explore the Value, Feasibility of Establishing Central Service for Preprints

From a Wellcome Trust Blog Post:

For more than 25 years, researchers in disciplines such as high-energy physics and mathematics have been able to access the very latest research findings in the online repository known as arXiv (pronounced ‘archive’).

Here, researchers deposit their preprints – complete and public drafts of scientific documents, not yet certified by peer review – to:

  • ensure their findings are quickly and widely disseminated
  • establish priority of their discoveries
  • invite feedback and discussion to help improve the work.

Despite these benefits, researchers in the life sciences have been slow to share preprints. While the arXiv holds over 1.2 million articles, the number of preprints shared in the life and biomedical sciences is estimated to be less than 25,000. However, this disguises significant growth over the past two years, which has been aided by the work of ASAPbio, a scientist-driven initiative to promote the productive use of preprints in the life sciences.


While it’s positive that preprints are becoming a recognised part of the scholarly communications ecosystem, the downside is that it’s becoming more difficult for researchers to discover relevant content and to know, for example, which preprints have been subject to some initial screening to weed out ethically questionable or unscientific content.

To address these issues, we’re working with an international group of research funders to explore the value and feasibility of establishing a Central Service for Preprints.

The service would seek to aggregate content from multiple sources – such as the preprint servers listed above – and provide new ways for researchers and machines to search, access and reuse this content.

The consortium includes the:

  • Alfred P Sloan Foundation
  • Canadian Institutes for Health Research
  • Department of Biotechnology (India)
  • European Research Council
  • Helmsley Trust
  • Howard Hughes Medical Institute
  • Laura and John Arnold Foundation
  • Medical Research Council.
  • National Institutes of Health
  • Simons Foundation

Read the Complete Blog Post

Direct to “Principles for establishing a Central Service for Preprints: a statement from a consortium of funders” (via ASAPBio)

About Gary Price

Gary Price (gprice@mediasourceinc.com) is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at Ask.com, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.