Science graphic against researcher hands holding sprouts in petri dish

Are Preprints the Future of Research?

How preprints provide a valuable addition to the peer review research process


In response to the rapidly spreading and fear-inducing coronavirus outbreak in Wuhan, China, scientists from academic institutions in New Delhi published an article that claimed to find similarities between coronavirus and HIV.

The paper, published on bioRxiv, a popular biology preprint server, had rushed the likely coincidental findings. Swiftly deemed false by scientists across social media, the paper was soon retracted.

Some hand-wringing scientists decried the lack of peer-review on preprint servers like bioRxiv. But if the findings had really been true, they would have been dire enough to demand an immediate platform. With a traditional peer-review publishing process, the findings wouldn’t have been published until months down the line—at the absolute earliest.


That's exactly why preprints make sense.

They don’t claim to be rigorous scientific results or discoveries. They’re drafts, submissions of ideas that deserve consideration. They’re sent out into the world to get helpful feedback as well as to ensure that fresh and exciting ideas get heard as soon as they’re conceived.