Today I just made an experiment – I submitted preprint of finished manuscript to bioRχiv (pronounced bioarchive) on bioRxiv.org, the preprint repository which aims to be the biological twin of arXiv.org.
Everything just happened at once – last morning I clicked through the Friday’s linkfest in Dynamic Ecology to the post of Zen Faulkner about his experience with uploading preprint to bioRxiv – in his eyes not too successful, since there were not extra views and comments on the paper, so he conclude that it may be just a waste of time if you are not scientific superstar and Nobel prize nominee. But I got inspired by the comments below that post – sure, to upload the preprint has the function of getting out fast a citable version of your work. At the same time, I finally finished working on a manuscript which is actually a kind of baby I cared about for way too long – it came already through two rounds of reviews (both rejected), and this is the third completely rewritten version prepared to be submitted for review again. But I really hope that at this moment it will be out – for the feeling that things are moving, and that I can link to that paper if I want, or even cite it in the follow up studies.
So I used bioRxiv for that – it’s pretty fast, the submission procedure is a bit similar to journal submission, but doesn’t contain so many questions. Before I submitted the manuscript for review to the journal I plan to, I first uploaded the pre-print here and note this in the cover letter for the submission to the “real” journal. There are options to upload edited or corrected versions any time, so it should be no problem to fix mistakes if there are some (sure there will be). As I understand the pre-print submission has no effect on the success of review in the peer-reviewed journal or potential acceptance/rejection of the paper there, so it sounds like just an added value of having something you can wave in the air.
The only thing which left me wondering was that actually once you upload the paper there, the paper is citable and – it cannot be removed. I spent a while hesitating what this may cause in the future – for example if I found that the paper is just a complete nonsense, I can’t just hide it away, it will be hanging there forever (whatever “forever” means). Hope this won’t be true, but let’s see what will happen.
PS: there is a Nature News article featuring bioRxiv.org almost three years ago when it was launched (you may click through here).