Chemists warm up to preprint servers
Preprint servers—online sites that post scientific manuscripts for free, prior to peer review—are well-established in fields such as physics and biology. More recently, two chemistry preprint servers, ChemRxiv and ChemRN, were launched. Although some chemists were initially skeptical, more are now embracing the idea of sharing their discoveries with the world before peer review, according to an article in Chemical & Engineering News (C&EN), the weekly newsmagazine of the American Chemical Society.
Today, more than 2,000 preprints have been posted on ChemRxiv and ChemRN, Assistant Editor Tien Nguyen writes. But when the two sites launched in 2017, the response was mixed. Skeptical researchers feared that posting preprints would make them vulnerable to being scooped by competitors. Journal editors worried that preprints would lessen a paper's novelty once it was published. And still others questioned whether chemistry preprint servers were even necessary.
But since their introduction, chemistry preprint servers have been steadily gaining popularity. Supporters enjoy the ability to quickly and freely share results and receive feedback from peers. The sites also allow scientists in the developing world to access research that otherwise would be hidden behind a paywall. And because the preprint has a time stamp, work can't be scooped by other researchers. Some preprint servers, such as ChemRxiv, have a one-click transfer feature that allows researchers to conveniently submit their preprints to selected journals.