A systematic analysis of preprints in Trauma & Orthopaedic surgery | Bone & Joint Open
peter.suber's bookmarks 2022-07-27
Abstract: Aims Preprint servers allow authors to publish full-text manuscripts or interim findings prior to undergoing peer review. Several preprint servers have extended their services to biological sciences, clinical research, and medicine. The purpose of this study was to systematically identify and analyze all articles related to Trauma & Orthopaedic (T&O) surgery published in five medical preprint servers, and to investigate the factors that influence the subsequent rate of publication in a peer-reviewed journal. Methods All preprints covering T&O surgery were systematically searched in five medical preprint servers (medRxiv, OSF Preprints, Preprints.org, PeerJ, and Research Square) and subsequently identified after a minimum of 12 months by searching for the title, keywords, and corresponding author in Google Scholar, PubMed, Scopus, Embase, Cochrane, and the Web of Science. Subsequent publication of a work was defined as publication in a peer-reviewed indexed journal. The rate of publication and time to peer-reviewed publication were assessed. Differences in definitive publication rates of preprints according to geographical origin and level of evidence were analyzed. Results The number of preprints increased from 2014 to 2020 (p < 0.001). A total of 38.6% of the identified preprints (n = 331) were published in a peer-reviewed indexed journal after a mean time of 8.7 months (SD 5.4 (1 to 27)). The highest proportion of missing subsequent publications was in the preprints originating from Africa, Asia/Middle East, and South America, or in those that covered clinical research with a lower level of evidence (p < 0.001). Conclusion Preprints are being published in increasing numbers in T&O surgery. Depending on the geographical origin and level of evidence, almost two-thirds of preprints are not subsequently published in a peer-reviewed indexed journal after one year. This raises major concerns regarding the dissemination and persistence of potentially wrong scientific work that bypasses peer review, and the orthopaedic community should discuss appropriate preventive measures.
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