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Preprints: The Basics: Citing Preprints

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

Citation Formats

In Notice NOT-OD-17-050, the NIH provides a format example for citing preprints in publications: 

Example: Bar DZ, Atkatsh K, Tavarez U, Erdos MR, Gruenbaum Y, Collins FS. Biotinylation by antibody recognition- A novel method for proximity labeling. BioRxiv 069187 [Preprint]. August 11, 2016 [cited 2017 Jan 12].  Available from:


Preprint servers also give guidance for citing preprints. Here is an example from medRxiv:

Example: Author AN, Author BT. 2019. My article title. medRxiv doi: 10.1101/2019.12.11.12345678

If there are multiple versions of the preprint and you wish to cite a specific version, you can do so by adding the version-specific URL.

Example: doi: 10.1101/2019.12.11.12345678 version 2,


Sources: National Institutes of Health [Internet]. Bethesda MD: National Institutes of Health; c2017. Reporting preprints and other interim research products; 2017 March 24; [about 3 screens]. Available from:

medRxiv [Internet]. Cold Spring Harbor NY: Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory; [date unknown]. Frequently asked questions (FAQ); [date unknown]; [about 3 screens]. Available from: