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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A preprint is a research manuscript that has not yet been peer reviewed.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 are located before submission to a journal but may be submitted to a preprint server


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: ASAPbio [Internet]. San Francisco CA: ASAPbio; c2021. Preprint FAQs; 2021 April; [about 10 screens]. Available from:

Bourne PE, Polka JK, Vale RD, Kiley R. Ten simple rules to consider regarding preprint submission. PLoS Computational Biology. 2017 May 4;13(5):e1005473. Available from:

SHERPA/RoMEO [Internet]. Bristol UK: Jisc; [date unknown]. About: Glossary; [date unknown]; [about 1 screen]. Available from:

U.S. National Library of Medicine [Internet]. Bethesda MD: National Institutes of Health; c2020. NIH preprint pilot; 2021 May 19; [about 5 screens]. Available from:

Image from National Library of Medicine.

Introduction to Preprints