The challenge of preprints for public health
peter.suber's bookmarks 2022-11-20
"Preprints are “a form of a scholarly article which is not peer-reviewed yet but made available either as paper format or electronic copy” 1. After an early attempt by the U.S. National Institutes of Health in the early 1960s, this format really took hold in the early 1990s, first as an email server at Los Alamos National Laboratory, which later became a web service known as arXiv 1. In the following years, the number of both preprint servers and total preprints submitted to web services increased considerably, however, preprints are still a small fraction (6.4%) of the total output of scientific publication 1. Despite disagreements over whether this form of publication is actually beneficial or not, its advantages and problems present a high degree of convergence among advocates and detractors. On the one hand, preprint is beneficial because it is a quicker way to disseminate scientific content with open access to everyone; on the other hand, the lack of adequate vetting, especially for peer reviews, increases the risk of disseminating bad science and can lead to several problems 2. The dissent lies in considering to what extent possible risks overcome possible benefits (or vice versa)...."