May 16, 2022

New Preprint: “Preprints in Motion: Tracking Changes Between Posting and Journal Publication”

The following preprint was recently shared on bioRxiv.


Preprints in Motion: Tracking Changes Between Posting and Journal Publication


Jessica K Polka

Gautam Dey
European Molecular Biology Laboratory

Máté Pálfy
The Company of Biologists

Federico Nanni
The Alan Turing Institute

Liam Brierley

University of Liverpool

Nicholas Fraser
Leibniz Information Centre for Economics

Jonathon Alexis Coates
Queen Mary University of London


via bioRxiv


Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, preprints in the biomedical sciences are being posted and accessed at unprecedented rates, drawing widespread attention from the general public, press and policymakers for the first time. This phenomenon has sharpened longstanding questions about the reliability of information shared prior to journal peer review. Does the information shared in preprints typically withstand the scrutiny of peer review, or are conclusions likely to change in the version of record? We assessed preprints that had been posted and subsequently published in a journal between 1st January and 30th April 2020, representing the initial phase of the pandemic response. We utilised a combination of automatic and manual annotations to quantify how an article changed between the preprinted and published version. We found that the total number of figure panels and tables changed little between preprint and published articles. Moreover, the conclusions of 6% of non-COVID-19-related and 15% of COVID-19-related abstracts undergo a discrete change by the time of publication, but the majority of these changes do not reverse the main message of the paper.

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.