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Preprints: The Basics: Home

A guide on what preprints are and why they are beneficial.


What is a preprint?

A preprint is a research manuscript that has not yet been peer reviewed. Preprints are often deposited into preprint servers or online repositories where they are free for all to access, and may be updated or revised on these sites as well. Preprints are different from postprints (also called accepted or author manuscripts) and final/published versions of journal articles. When looking at a preprint, it is important to be aware that the details of the research found within it are subject to change after the manuscript is peer reviewed.

Lifecycle of a manuscript from preprint to publication


Preprints have many benefits, including:

  • quicker dissemination and discussion of research results
  • feedback from the research community on improving papers before submitting to journals
  • helping to prove originality of work due to timestamps and DOIs
  • providing access to work that would not otherwise be published
  • advancement for tenure and grants


Sources: SHERPA/RoMEO. (n. d.) About: GlossaryASAPbio. (n. d.) Preprint FAQs.; Bourne, P. E., Polka, J. K., Vale, R. D., & Kiley, R. (2017). Ten simple rules to consider regarding preprint submission. PLoS Computational Biology, 13(5), e1005473; National Library of Medicine. (2020). NIH preprint pilot.

Image from National Library of Medicine (2020). NIH preprint pilot. 

Introduction to Preprints