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Wednesday, October 16 • 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Who will influence the success of preprints in biology and to what end?

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The landscape of preprints in biology and chemistry is changing rapidly: at least 8 new preprint servers have launched in the past year alone by journals, publishing vendors, scientific societies and research communities. Moreover, several conservative publishers now permit — some even promote — preprints, while the more progressive publishers and infrastructure providers support preprint adoption with interoperability and awareness: for example, PLOS has posted 2,500 preprints to bioRxiv in the first year supporting submissions direct from their author portal, while Company of Biologists encourages interaction with preprints through the PreLights and PreLists community initiatives, and Europe PMC indexes preprints for improved discovery. Together, these developments reflect varying definitions of what constitutes a preprint. Are preprints shared before submission or once passed initial triage at a journal? Are they open to read only or open for reuse? Can authors share new versions improved through community and journal-led peer review? And as with any effort to change culture, if we build the infrastructure, will they come? The rate of growth in preprint submissions is higher than that of publications, yet only 1 in 50 biomedical publications is preprinted today and adoption is highly variable between research communities: a third of recent submissions to bioRxiv are from neuroscientists, bioinformaticians and microbiologists. While one funder mandates preprints (CZI), there is a call for more funders to follow suit (Plan U). Meanwhile, the advocacy and adoption conversations we have and hear about at ASAPbio remain dominated by fears relating to research evaluation and misuse: fears of scooping (including the perception of someone else unfairly gaining from your work), journal rejection and the repercussions of finding errors in one’s own work and sharing erroneous science by others. To secure a healthy sustainable future for preprints, we must now find ways to bring preprinting behaviours that benefit science into everyday research culture. With stories and data, this panel will summarise the current landscape and practices, including: Who posts preprints? Who reviews them? Who uses them to evaluate researchers? Who owns, provides and funds preprint infrastructure? We ask who will dictate the success and scope of preprint culture in biology: the scientist (producer, consumer and evaluator), the funder (public and private) or the publisher (traditional and disruptive)? Is there opportunity for meaningful collaboration between all three that would bring progress for science?
Disclosure: My position as Associate Director of ASAPbio is funded by the ASAPbio Member Advisory Group (https://asapbio.org/member-advisory-group):
Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CA)
Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (US)
Howard Hughes Medical Institute (US)
Medical Research Council (UK)
Simons Foundation (US)
The Wellcome Trust (UK)
[Note: I hope a panel would offer the best opportunity for different stakeholders to exchange motivations and constraints and discuss ways forward together; in lieu of a panel, I could present a talk; and if neither opportunity available, I would welcome a poster slot!]


Wednesday October 16, 2019 4:00pm - 5:00pm
Presidents room
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