The Public Library of Science (PLOS) and Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) today announced an expansion of their longstanding partnership to offer authors more options for rapidly and easily sharing their research before publication in a journal. Beginning this month, three PLOS journals, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS ONE, will offer authors the option to have their manuscript automatically forwarded to the preprint server medRxiv for posting as a preprint.
The practice of sharing preprints is becoming more prevalent in medicine, with more preprints posted since the beginning of 2020 than in the four previous years combined. The COVID-19 pandemic has driven much of the increase in preprint sharing in medicine, and demonstrated the benefits of rapidly and responsibly sharing findings prior to traditional peer review.
“Since 2018, through our partnership with CSHL, we have posted thousands of manuscripts as preprints on bioRxiv on behalf of researchers in the biological sciences,” said Veronique Kiermer, Chief Scientific Officer, PLOS. “I believe that our support, as publishers, has helped authors gain the confidence to share their results before formal publication. We are delighted to be extending this service to authors in the medical sciences, allowing important research results to be shared early and responsibly to accelerate research. It has never been more important.”
“PLOS has been a much valued partner in bioRxiv’s transformation of communication among bioscientists,” said John Inglis, co-founder of medRxiv and bioRxiv at CSHL. “The further support of such an innovative publisher for medRxiv’s service to the health science research community is immensely encouraging.”
The medRxiv preprint server was launched by CSHL in June 2019 as a not-for-profit, community-based author service that is publisher-independent but integrated with many journals. It currently hosts more than 27,500 manuscripts from 153,000 researchers in 140 countries. PLOS is the first publisher to implement this “journal-to-medRxiv” integration via the Editorial Manager journal submission system and at the scale of PLOS ONE. PLOS ONE alone received more than 19,000 submissions in Public Health and Medicine in 2020.
Responsible preprint posting is essential, especially in fields that impact public health and welfare. MedRxiv has worked closely with the editors of leading medical journals to develop a rigorous preprint screening process. In-house screening looks for nonscientific content, plagiarism, potentially identifying patient details, and ethical approval statements, while volunteer researchers with relevant expertise assess each preprint to confirm that posting will not pose a risk to patients or public health.
PLOS is committed to enhancing the integrity of preprints and confidence in them as research outputs. A key part of its mission has been to act as a catalyst, not only demonstrating the viability of new models through its own operations but also supporting them elsewhere. PLOS has been successful in steadily increasing adoption of preprints by its authors. 14% of all PLOS papers published in 2020 have an associated preprint, a figure that is driven largely by authors of Life Science studies who have used our integration with bioRxiv. PLOS receives an even greater volume of submissions in public health and medicine, and adding medRxiv alongside our existing bioRxiv integration will extend the ease of facilitated posting to more researchers around the world.