Publishing Research Papers In Journals

The drawn-out and often contentious societal and technological transition to Open Access and Open Science/Open Research, particularly across North America and Europe (Latin America has already widely adopted ‘Acceso Abierto’ for more than 2 decades now [1]) has led both Open Science advocates and defenders of the status quo to adopt increasingly entrenched positions.

Here, we address ten key topics which are vigorously debated, but pervasive misunderstandings often derail, undercut, or distort discussions1.

We aim to develop a base level of common understanding concerning core issues.

A persistent issue surrounding preprints is the concern that work may be at risk of being plagiarized or ‘scooped’—meaning that the same or similar research will be published by others without proper attribution to the original source—if the original is publicly available without the stamp of approval from peer reviewers and traditional journals [10].

These concerns are often amplified as competition increases for academic jobs and funding, and perceived to be particularly problematic for early-career researchers and other higher-risk demographics within academia. Considering the differences between traditional peer-review based publishing models and deposition of an article on a preprint server, ‘scooping’ is less likely for manuscripts first submitted as preprints.

The discussion has been constructed in this way to emphasize and focus on precise issues that need addressing.

We, the authors, come from a range of backgrounds, as an international group with a variety of experiences in scholarly communication (e.g., publishing, policy, journalism, multiple research disciplines, editorial and peer review, technology, advocacy).

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Yet, there is no official open record of that process (e.g., peer reviewers are normally anonymous, reports remain largely unpublished), and if an identical or very similar paper were to be published while the original was still under review, it would be impossible to establish provenance.

Preprints provide a time-stamp at time of publication, which establishes the “priority of discovery” for scientific claims ([13], Figure 1).

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