January 28, 2022

Report: “A Surge in Pandemic Research Shines a Spotlight on Preprints”

From The Scientist:

“This is the first global health crisis in which preprints have played a major role in disseminating information rapidly,” says Jessica Polka, the executive director of ASAPbio (Accelerating Science and Publication in biology), a nonprofit that advocates for open and innovative communication in the life sciences. “Even beyond the academic research community, I think many people learned about preprints for the first time. . . . [Preprints have] entered into the consciousness of both scientific and nonscientific communities.”


Preprints have made up a large chunk of the COVID-19 literature to date. According to a study by Coates, Polka, and their colleagues, of the approximately 125,000 COVID-19–related scientific articles published in the first 10 months of the pandemic, more than 30,000 (around one-quarter) were preprints. “Normally you would find around three or four percent of the biomedical literature as preprints each year,” Coates says. “A lot of people have actually been turning to them for the first time.”

The largest number of COVID-19 preprints appeared on medRxiv. Researchers also posted their work onto more than a dozen other preprint servers, including bioRxiv, arXiv, and SSRN, a server for studies in the social sciences.

Direct to Complete Article (approx. 1360 words)

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.