May 27, 2022

Research Article: “The Effect of BioRxiv Preprints on Citations and Altmetrics” (Preprint)

The following research article (preprint) was recently posted on bioRxiv.


The Effect of BioRxiv Preprints on Citations and Altmetrics


Nicholas Fraser
Leibniz Information Centre for Economics

Fakhri Momeni
Leibniz Information Centre for Economics

Philipp Mayr
Leibniz Information Centre for Economics

Isabella Peters
Leibniz Information Centre for Economics


via bioRxiv
DOI: 10.1101/673665


A potential motivation for scientists to deposit their scientific work as preprints is to enhance its citation or social impact, an effect which has been empirically observed for preprints in physics, astronomy and mathematics deposited to arXiv.

In this study we assessed the citation and altmetric advantage of bioRxiv, a preprint server for the biological sciences. We retrieved metadata of all bioRxiv preprints deposited between November 2013 and December 2017, and matched them to articles that were subsequently published in peer-reviewed journals. Citation data from Scopus and altmetric data from were used to compare citation and online sharing behaviour of bioRxiv preprints, their related journal articles, and non-deposited articles published in the same journals.

We found that bioRxiv-deposited journal articles received a sizeable citation and altmetric advantage over non-deposited articles. Regression analysis reveals that this advantage is not explained by multiple explanatory variables related to the article and its authorship. bioRxiv preprints themselves are being directly cited in journal articles, regardless of whether the preprint has been subsequently published in a journal. bioRxiv preprints are also shared widely on Twitter and in blogs, but remain relatively scarce in mainstream media and Wikipedia articles, in comparison to peer-reviewed journal articles.

Direct to Full Text Article: The Effect of BioRxiv Preprints on Citations and Altmetrics
23 pages; PDF.

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.