WELCOME to PREreview Preprint Journal Club!
"If you want to be one year behind, don’t read bioRxiv” – Jeff Leek
Welcome to the GitHub repository of PREreview preprint journal clubs (JCs)! PREreview.org is a free online platfrom for the collaborative writing of preprint reviews. This project was born from the collaboration between Samantha Hindle and Daniela Saderi, neuroscientists and ASAPbio Ambassadors. ASAPbio (Accelerating Science And Publication in biology) is a non-profit organization dedicated to spreading the word about preprints to accelerate scientific discovery. Starting in May 2018, Monica Granados, also a scientist and open science advocate, joined our team. Find more about our team below.
What are preprints?
Preprints are complete pieces of scientific work that have not yet been peer reviewed or published. Preprints are often the same manuscripts that are submitted to a journal for peer review, but are stored on freely accessible public servers such that they become available to the whole web community within 1-2 days from submission.
How can preprints help fix the problems in publishing in biology?
Publishing in the biological sciences has become a much lengthier process over the past 30 years and can take 1-2 years from journal submission to final publication. During this peer review process the manuscript can change substantially, which can be beneficial but can also remove information that can be useful to other scientists. Furthermore, once a manuscript is published, it can often be unavailable unless you pay subscription fees. Preprints can solve these problems as they are free and immediately available versions of manuscripts that will later undergo peer review in a journal. In addition, the public servers store all versions of the manuscript so data is never lost, even when a subsequent version no longer includes that data.
How can Preprint Journal Clubs help?
We believe that scientific manuscripts should be read and evaluated by a diverse population of trained and interested scientists at different career levels. An easy way to provide early feedback on emerging scientific output is to collaboratively discuss and review preprints at academic journal clubs.
At PREreview, we try to make it easier for scientists around the world to run preprint JCs and share the fruits of their discussions with the rest of the community. Traditional JCs – in which groups of scientists discuss published work – are a staple in academia; they are a way for scientists to collectively engage with others’ discoveries, and for ECRs to learn how to critically evaluate research output. However, the results of those discussions do not usually leave those meeting rooms, and certainly cannot contribute to improving what they read: journal-published, inalterable scientific articles.
Discussing and reviewing preprints at JCs can change that. The valuable feedback that is collected during the JC can be compiled into a review and sent back to the authors, who then have the chance of integrating that feedback into their work. Furthermore, posting these reviews publicly has the advantage of helping early career researchers or people who are outside of that given scientific field develop their ability to evaluate research with a critical eye.
On PREreview, we try to make it easier for scientists around the world to run preprint JCs and share the fruits of their discussions by providing support and training for preprint peer review, and by creating a space to collaboratively engage with preprints and share constructive feedback.
Who are "we"?
Daniela and Sam are two neuroscientists driven by a common passion for improving the scientific ecosystem by creating a more open and communal way of doing science. Since we met in April 2017, we have worked relentlessly in our ‘spare time’ to craft and nurture our desire to see preprints adopted and valued by other scientists. In September of 2017 we founded PREreview.org. Monica joined our team first as a member of our Advisory Board, and then, starting in May 2018, as a new team member.
Samantha is the content lead at bioRxiv and, since ASAPbio’s inception, has closely coordinated with the ASAPbio Founder Ron Vale and Director Jessica Polka. Samantha has co-hosted Preprint Town Hall meetings at her home institution and has represented ASAPbio at Open Science meetings. Samantha also has substantial experience in writing manuscript reviews and is well placed to develop resources for this project.
Daniela is a Ph.D candidate in the Neuroscience Graduate Program at Oregon Health & Science University and open science advocate. Daniela has been coordinating a conventional (postprint) Systems Neuroscience Journal Club for four years. Under Daniela’s encouragement, in the past year months the group has begun to discuss preprints with the goal of sending comments to the authors and the whole community via online repositories. This practice has so far been a positive experience for both students and preprint authors, who have expressed thanks for the comments.
Monica is a post-doctoral fellow at the Wildlife Conservation Society and the University of Guelph. She is a staunch advocate of open science having designed several courses to teach scientists how to practice in the open. Monica mentored this project in the fourth cohort of the Mozilla Open Leaders and has been an instrumental member of our Advisory Board since January 2018. We now welcome her as a new team member. Twitter: @Monsauce