A Pre-print is the original version of a scientific manuscript, before review. It contains data and methodologies and is often the same version that is sent to a journal. It is usually deposited in ad hoc repositories. After a brief quality check to make sure the work meets the requirements of scientificity, it can be published, without peer review, and be accessed and downloaded for free by anyone in the world.

Once published in a pre-print repository, a pre-print cannot be withdrawn except for very serious resons.

Advantages of disseminating a work through a pre-print server, for authors and readers

  1. Allows certification of priority on a new idea;
  2. Certifies a date certain from which a particular piece of research can be associated with its author’s name (e.g., in disputes related to the priority of a discovery);
  3. Preprints on some servers are open to comments and feedback that can help the author(s) improve the manuscript even before or at the same time as submission to a journal;
  4. Ensures rapid dissemination and timely sharing of research results;
  5. There is no cost to the author or reader;
  6. As a result of peer review, pre-print servers allow uploading of updated versions, but retain all previous versions;
  7. Some funding bodies (e.g., ERC, Bill and Melinda Gates foundation) support the use of pre-print servers;
  8. Most journals accept manuscripts that have been previously circulated on pre-print servers (usually nonprofit), so it is important to always check the journal’s policies with respect to pre-prints;
  9. Authors usually retain copyright of papers published on pre-print servers.

How to Publish a Pre-print

In order for timely dissemination of a pre-print to be possible, it is necessary to check the policies of the publisher who will be publishing the final version of the article; only if the publisher allows it will it be possible to archive and distribute the pre-print version without further delay.

Pre-print Archives

AIR is the Institutional repository of the University of Milan

ARXIV one of the leading pre-print archives for the areas of physics, mathematics and computer science

ZENODO is a multidisciplinary archive supported by the European Commission open to all

OSF is a multidisciplinary pre-print archive

Research funding bodies welcoming pre-print

concerned with the possibility of rapid dissemination of research papers in the biological sciences.

At this link you can check the policies of research funding bodies with respect to the publication of pre-prints: Asapbio Funder Policies

Public infrastructure for peer review of pre-print

ASAPbio and EMBO have initiated a peer review project for pre-prints found on Review Commons, in which an evaluation by one or more reviewers is expected to accompany the pre-print when it is submitted to a journal.

PREreview is an open peer-review platform for pre-prints that also features a number of training initiatives.

We highlight the Publish your reviews which provides authors with the publication of the portion of the review performed for a traditional publisher, but without any reference to the journal for which the review is being done and without the final judgment (accept /reject).