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Dear Editors,
I would like to submit, on behalf of my co-authors, a proposal for a "Community
Pages" paper entitled “Developing a preprint culture in biology” for
consideration in PLOS Biology. The manuscript is authored by myself, Ethan
White, Joel J. Adamson, Timothée Poisot, Karthik Ram, and Dominique Gravel.
Public preprint servers such as arXiv.org have become central to the scientific
process in fields such as physics, mathematics, and economics. These preprint
servers allow researchers to make their research rapidly available to the
broader community prior to peer review, which facilitates discussion, review,
and rapid communication of scientific results. Preprints are increasingly seen
as an important component of open science, because the research can be discussed
by the scientific community as soon as it is finished, instead of being
effectively hidden until officially published. However, in contrast to other
disciplines, the field of biology has effectively no preprint culture, with the
exception of small pockets of primarily highly quantitative research (e.g.,
epidemiology).
In our piece, we discuss the lack of adoption of preprint servers in the
biological sciences, make the argument for the value a preprint culture in these
disciplines, and discuss existing options for posting biologically focused
preprints.
Preprints are actively being discussed in high profile places as part of a
broader push towards a more open scientific process (e.g., [1-2]). In addition,
new preprint options have become available within the last year for
non-quantitative biological research. As such, now is the ideal time to present
the case for the use of preprints in biology.
For the sake of full disclosure we should point out that several of the authors
are involved as volunteers with some of the preprint (and preprint like) servers
mentioned in the article (White at PeerJ, Gravel at Faculty of 1000, and
Desjardins-Proulx is an endorser for arXiv). However there is no financial
conflict of interest.
We look forward to your decision.
Best regards,
On behalf of the authors,
Philippe Desjardins-Proulx
Theoretical Ecosystem Ecology laboratory, Université du Québec, Canada.
[1] http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v476/n7359/full/476145a.html
[2] http://www.nature.com/news/geneticists-eye-the-potential-of-arxiv-1.11091