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      Technical and social issues influencing the adoption of preprints in the life sciences

      review-article
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      PLoS Genetics
      Public Library of Science

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          Abstract

          Preprints are gaining visibility in many fields. Thanks to the exponential growth in submissions to bioRxiv, an online server for preprints in biology, versions of manuscripts prior to the completion of journal-organized peer review are poised to become a standard component of the publishing experience in the life sciences. Here, we provide an overview of current challenges facing preprints, both technical and social, and a vision for their future development.

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          Most cited references36

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          Why the impact factor of journals should not be used for evaluating research

          P O Seglen (1997)
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            Assessing scientists for hiring, promotion, and tenure

            Assessment of researchers is necessary for decisions of hiring, promotion, and tenure. A burgeoning number of scientific leaders believe the current system of faculty incentives and rewards is misaligned with the needs of society and disconnected from the evidence about the causes of the reproducibility crisis and suboptimal quality of the scientific publication record. To address this issue, particularly for the clinical and life sciences, we convened a 22-member expert panel workshop in Washington, DC, in January 2017. Twenty-two academic leaders, funders, and scientists participated in the meeting. As background for the meeting, we completed a selective literature review of 22 key documents critiquing the current incentive system. From each document, we extracted how the authors perceived the problems of assessing science and scientists, the unintended consequences of maintaining the status quo for assessing scientists, and details of their proposed solutions. The resulting table was used as a seed for participant discussion. This resulted in six principles for assessing scientists and associated research and policy implications. We hope the content of this paper will serve as a basis for establishing best practices and redesigning the current approaches to assessing scientists by the many players involved in that process.
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              Use of the Journal Impact Factor in academic review, promotion, and tenure evaluations

              We analyzed how often and in what ways the Journal Impact Factor (JIF) is currently used in review, promotion, and tenure (RPT) documents of a representative sample of universities from the United States and Canada. 40% of research-intensive institutions and 18% of master’s institutions mentioned the JIF, or closely related terms. Of the institutions that mentioned the JIF, 87% supported its use in at least one of their RPT documents, 13% expressed caution about its use, and none heavily criticized it or prohibited its use. Furthermore, 63% of institutions that mentioned the JIF associated the metric with quality, 40% with impact, importance, or significance, and 20% with prestige, reputation, or status. We conclude that use of the JIF is encouraged in RPT evaluations, especially at research-intensive universities, and that there is work to be done to avoid the potential misuse of metrics like the JIF.
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                Author and article information

                Contributors
                Role: Editor
                Journal
                PLoS Genet
                PLoS Genet
                plos
                plosgen
                PLoS Genetics
                Public Library of Science (San Francisco, CA USA )
                1553-7390
                1553-7404
                20 April 2020
                April 2020
                : 16
                : 4
                : e1008565
                Affiliations
                [001]ASAPbio, San Francisco, California, United States of America
                La Trobe University, AUSTRALIA
                Author notes

                I have read the journal's policy and have the following conflicts: JP and NP are employees of ASAPbio, a non-profit organization promoting the productive use of preprints. JP is a Plan S ambassador. JP and NP are on the PREreview Steering Committee, an advisory body.

                Author information
                http://orcid.org/0000-0003-0568-1194
                http://orcid.org/0000-0001-6610-9293
                Article
                PGENETICS-D-19-01479
                10.1371/journal.pgen.1008565
                7170218
                32310942
                3a6fbf80-f176-4b91-9d79-40bac597aff0
                © 2020 Penfold, Polka

                This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

                History
                Page count
                Figures: 0, Tables: 1, Pages: 16
                Funding
                The authors received no specific funding for this work. ASAPbio is funded by ● The Leona M.and Harry B. Helmsley Charitable Trust ● The Wellcome Trust (UK) ● Chan Zuckerberg Initiative (US) ● Howard Hughes Medical Institute (US) ● Simons Foundation (US) ● Medical Research Council (UK) ● Canadian Institutes of Health Research (CA).
                Categories
                Review
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Research Assessment
                Peer Review
                Science Policy
                Science Policy
                Open Science
                Open Access Publishing
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Scientific Publishing
                Publication Practices
                Open Access Publishing
                Science Policy
                Science and Technology Workforce
                Careers in Research
                Scientists
                People and Places
                Population Groupings
                Professions
                Scientists
                Research and Analysis Methods
                Scientific Publishing
                Biology and Life Sciences
                Science Policy
                Research Funding
                Social Sciences
                Economics
                Labor Economics
                Employment
                Careers

                Genetics
                Genetics

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