Supporting Open Research – sharing early by publishing pre-prints

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Open Research improves the quality and reliability of research, supports a culture of transparency, maximizes public benefit and avoids resource waste. Sharing pre-print early versions of your publications is an element of Open Research. Find out what pre-prints are, why you might want to use them and what to be aware of.

What is a pre-print?  

A pre-print is a version of a work that has not been peer reviewed by, or published in, a scholarly journal. It is a preliminary version of an article, shared for comment before formal peer review. Many disciplines recognise preprints as part of the publication cycle, and they can be cited in further works.

Benefits of making your pre-prints available:

  • Ideas and discoveries can be disseminated quickly. Preprints can speed delivery of lifesaving innovations to practitioners across the world or establish priority in a discovery.
  • Open peer review at this stage can allow you to acknowledge and correct errors before publication.
  • Potential collaborators can find your research and move it forward more quickly

Issues to consider before making your pre-prints available:

  • As with any publication, make sure you are not releasing information too early.  Ensure you are not releasing sensitive information.  This might be:
  • Make sure all your collaborators and stakeholders are happy with an open research approach and the dissemination of pre-prints. Include it in your privacy statements for your research participants.
  • Balance the risk of dissemination of faulty research against the opportunity to identify and correct errors at an early stage. If the research is found to be faulty, it may reflect negatively on the authors. This is mitigated by the opportunity to correct errors through open peer review before formal publication and ultimately improve the quality of the end result.
  • Check publishers’ policies. Some publishers may not want to publish works that have been presented as pre-prints.   Most are happy with the concept but others are not, or have conditions (e.g. using a particular pre-print platform)

How to share a pre-print

Preprints should be shared on a dedicated preprint server.  This means that they will have DOIs and citable references. Check that the policies and aims of the service indicate that the service is robust and reliable.

Use the Directory of Open Access Preprint Repositories to identify preprints servers. Platforms listed here are purpose built to offer secure and compliant open access.

If you choose to create and disseminate pre-prints on any of these platforms remember to record it in KAR using the pre-print item type.  You can also link the pre-print record in KAR with the later published article using our “related resources” field in KAR.

Use caution when posting your work on commercial repositories or academic social media like ResearchGate or

Find out more about Open Research

Have a look at our Open Research guide

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