May 19, 2022

Article: “The Prehistory of Biology Preprints: A Forgotten Experiment From the 1960s”

The following article was recently published by PLOS Biology.


Prehistory Of Biology Preprints: A Forgotten Experiment From the 1960s


Matthew Cobb
University of Manchester


PLoS Biol15(11): e2003995
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pbio.2003995


In 1961, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) began to circulate biological preprints in a forgotten experiment called the Information Exchange Groups (IEGs). This system eventually attracted over 3,600 participants and saw the production of over 2,500 different documents, but by 1967, it was effectively shut down following the refusal of journals to accept articles that had been circulated as preprints. This article charts the rise and fall of the IEGs and explores the parallels with the 1990s and the biomedical preprint movement of today.

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About Gary Price

Gary Price ( 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, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.