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Understanding Research Impact: Pre-Prints & Peer Review

Preprints and Research Impact Studies

Get Credit for Peer Review

Create a Publons account to track and verify your peer review activities. Connect your Publons account to your ORCID profile to make your review activities available to other scholars, universities, funders, publishers and scholarly societies. 

Innovations in Peer Review

Three Models of Post-Publication Review

  • Invited reviewers: an editor invites experts to comment on the published article. Once that work passes review, it is identified as a ”peer reviewed” publication and indexed within scholarly databases as such. E.g. F1000 Research, Copernicus
  • Volunteer reviewers: A group of scholars are vetted by a journal and anyone from that group can review any published work. Each publication will determine if and how an review impacts the status of a work, and when it has been reviewed and edited enough to become “peer reviewed.” E.g. Science Open, The Winnower
  • Open comments: Comments and review happen on the article’s page, on blogs or other third-party sites. These comments can be made anonymously, pseudonymously, or with real names. This type of review won’t typically change the status of a published article from “manuscript” to “peer reviewed”, but may server to identify issues with a paper or to surface interesting and highly-read and potentially highly-impactful articles. E.g. PubPeer, PubMed Commons

Open Peer Review

In an open peer review model all aspects of the publication and review processes are made publicly accessible, including :

  • The original manuscript
  • The names and full reports of all referees
  • Any revised versions of the manuscript
  • And a list of all the amendments made by the author

Wellcome Open Research does open peer review. And this is what an article looks like on their site: 

Preprint Pros and Cons

Pros Cons
Faster and wider dissemination: no wait times, no paywalls
Perception of low quality: misunderstanding of preprints as manuscripts that can't pass peer review
Record of priority: permanent datestamp within 24hrs of posting
Risk of disseminating invalid findings: unvetted papers may be picked up by the public, journalists, etc.
Does not preclude publication: usually not considered prior publication. Check SHERPA/RoMEO for specific journal preprint policies
Risk of embargo violations: If press or public publish findings from preprint may be considered prior publication
Establish a body of work: Good for early career researchers; funders like NIH and Wellcome accept preprints as part of application
Rapid evaluation of results: lots of eyes on a given paper  


Data & Research Impact Librarian

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Beyond the Article

Research papers are no longer considered the only first-class research output. Increasingly scholars are sharing outputs like: