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February 6, 2018

Medical Preprints—A Debate Worth Having

Author Affiliations
  • 1Faculty of Health Sciences, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
  • 2Kingston Health Sciences Centre, Kingston, Ontario, Canada
JAMA. 2018;319(5):443-444. doi:10.1001/jama.2017.17566

Following a similar movement in other academic fields, most notably the physical sciences and computing, biomedical researchers are increasingly exploring the use of preprint servers to rapidly disseminate their scholarly output.1-3 Preprint servers consist of online repositories that make scientific manuscripts available to view and cite, without prior external peer review. The largest and most popular site for preprints, arXiv.org, began accepting papers in 1991, and now contains more than 1.3 million articles from the physical sciences, with nearly 1 billion downloads as of August 2017.4 More recently, bioRxiv.org has begun to offer preprint services for the biological sciences and is growing rapidly, with nearly 17 000 preprints posted since its inception in 2013, most of them in the last year.5