Research Square Reaches 100,000 Preprint Milestone

Fewer than three years after the first preprint was posted on Research Square, the world’s fastest-growing multidisciplinary preprint platform has surpassed 100,000 preprints.

These 100,000-plus preprints combined were produced by 530,415 unique co-authors, 85,887 of whom were corresponding authors. The preprints also collectively generated 6,669 citations, logged 880,665 PDF downloads, and 39,532,968 HTML page views.  

Research Square’s growth rate has continued to increase over time. Since November 2020, after Research Square reached its 50,000 preprint milestone, authors from across more than 200 disciplines posted preprints at a rate of 206 per day. Before the 50,000 milestone, authors posted at a rate of 65 preprints per day. 

At the start of the COVID-19 outbreak in February 2020, preprinting exploded, beginning with the clinical sciences and quickly spreading throughout the life and social sciences, as well as some disciplines in the humanities. 

Michele Avissar-Whiting, Editor-in-Chief of Research Square, says preprinting has existed for decades and is rapidly becoming a natural part of the scholarly publishing process. 

“Preprints are nothing new and everything new at the same time,” said Avissar-Whiting. “Physicists, statisticians, and computer scientists have been circulating preprints online for more than 30 years, and it’s been a common step in their publication process for decades. Now history is repeating itself, just much more quickly and on an exponentially larger scale. The use of preprints has spread across hundreds of disciplines because of their potential to  accelerate research discovery.” 

Avissar-Whiting says researchers personally decide to post on preprint servers like Research Square for a number of reasons. Among them: to make their work immediately citable and discoverable, to establish the primacy of their discoveries, and to get comments and other feedback from the research community before submitting their work to peer-reviewed journals.

Preprints are uploaded to Research Square through one of two routes: through its innovative In Review feature, which allows researchers to upload their preprints while submitting to one of nearly 500 participating journals or via direct submission to the server. 

Research Square has shown significant adoption in countries with high-growth research programs. More than 45 percent of the authors preprinting on Research Square are associated with institutions in China and India. Among the other top 10 users by country: the United States, Iran, Turkey, the United Kingdom, Germany, Japan, Brazil, and Ethiopia.

Amye Kenall , Vice President of Publishing and Product for Research Square Company, says that the Research Square preprint platform is well positioned to become the largest and most robust preprint platform in the world. 

“Hitting the 100,000 preprint mark is a powerful milestone for us,” said Kenall. “It makes this growing and evolving publishing ecosystem more accessible to authors, and it is a reminder to continue to be led first and foremost by our users, the thousands of authors who post with us every week, whose embrace of the Research Square platform has gotten us here.”