Does a preprint establish you as the author of the study? — R Voice

Does a preprint establish you as the author of the study?

Kakoli Majumder
Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 312 admin
edited July 27 in Publication Support

It may take several months or even years for a research paper to be published in a scholarly journal. In contrast, preprints are often made accessible within a day or two of submission and can be deposited into online repositories. Understandably, when the pandemic necessitated research results to be disseminated urgently, scientists across the world shared their results to preprint servers rather than waiting for their papers to be published.

The pandemic has definitely generated a surge of interest in preprints: almost 25 per cent of Covid-19-related science was made available on two major preprint servers.

Preprints are research papers uploaded by authors to servers and published without peer review. Therefore, it's natural that authors, especially early career researchers, would have several questions and doubts that need to be clarified before they venture to share their research as preprints. This Q&A answers many critical questions that you might have around would preprints. Sharing this here as I feel it'll help you make an informed decision if you're considering the idea of disseminating your research through preprints.


Has anyone here uploaded their manuscript on a preprint server? Would love to know about your experience.

Best Answer

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 202 ✭✭✭✭
    Answer ✓

    I have uploaded the pre-print versions of my manuscripts on ResearchGate. The reason was to receive a suitable journal suggestion. A possible added benefit is helpful people can guide for reshaping manuscripts. However, I luckily have received a possible journal suggestion. If your manuscript faces acceptance difficulty for long, publishing its pre-print version is worthy of it. It helps you to check the reader's attention to your manuscript. Also, it helps in reaching potential journal editors.

    Communication is the key to thriving! 😊

Answers

  • Mdumiseni Mdumiseni Mazula
    Mdumiseni Mdumiseni Mazula Member Posts: 68 ✭✭✭

    I never uploaded my manuscript on a preprint server, I also love to know more about others experience as well thank you.

  • Isurika Sevwandi
    Isurika Sevwandi Member Posts: 120 ✭✭✭✭

    @Kakoli Majumder even though the article seems a bit alien to me as a novice researcher, I thank you for inviting me to have a look at it🙂 I have published my work at conference repositories where at the end of the conference, the chairperson seeks permission from the presenters to upload their abstract/ full paper or PowerPoint deck into an online repository which effectively paves the way to conference participants to in-depth to their work later at their own pace. I think it's a plus point for speedy dissemination of research outcomes and easy access to papers of your research interests but I have never thought of claiming the authorship or how much it charge. The article was an eye opener and I think I need to listen to senior folks in this regard. Looking forward to reading others' experiences.

  • Gayatri Ramachandran
    Gayatri Ramachandran Member Posts: 217 ✭✭✭

    That is an insightful read @Kakoli Majumder . Thanks a lot for bringing up such a discussion! I have never submitted any article as a pre-print but like @Isurika Sevwandi mentioned I have deposited them online at conferences and presentations of these "pre-prints" has given new dimensions to my research work.

    That is a very informative post you have put, thanks much😊. Looking forward to knowing more about it from others here.

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 185 ✭✭✭

    Thank you @Kakoli Majumder. The essence of a preprint is to allow colleagues and researchers to look at the paper and offer critical opinions and views that could strengthen its quality. I know that SAGE Open does encourage researchers to upload the preprint of the paper. The beauty of this is that unless you state that it should not be cited, some researchers could see it as a good reference material that they would want to cite in their works. Thus, you are the author.

    One thing at a time😍

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 156 ✭✭✭✭

    The same with @Mdumiseni Mdumiseni Mazula I have never put my manuscript on a preprint server. Different from the experiences of @Isurika Sevwandi and @Gayatri Ramachandran, the conferences I have joined do not connect to pre-print server but comprise all presentation abstract and or full article in the proceedings.

    I always wonder if other researchers could steal the idea or maybe the contents when the manuscript is published in the pre-print server. Do you have any experiences of it, @Soumi Paul and @Omololu FAGBADEBO ?

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 185 ✭✭✭

    @Yufita Chinta, yes, it is possible for researchers to steal your idea in the upper sent to the pre-print server. Hence, researchers hesitate to tow that path. I have not used it before anyway. But then it is a good idea provided researchers are honest and conscious of the ethical implication of stealing others' ideas or work.

    One thing at a time😍

  • Gayatri Ramachandran
    Gayatri Ramachandran Member Posts: 217 ✭✭✭

    Thanks for bringing this up! - " always wonder if other researchers could steal the idea or maybe the contents when the manuscript is published in the pre-print server". That's something I had actually taken for granted @Yufita Chinta and @Omololu FAGBADEBO - The fact that you have posted your research on pre-print is an indication that it can't be scooped, ideally. That it has been pre-published means "I-did- send-out-my-findings-and-hypothesis-first", right? Which essentially means none can scoop you "after that".

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 185 ✭✭✭

    You are rigt, @Gayatri Ramachandran. In the contemporary world o predatory journals, scrupulous researchers could throw caution into the winds and steal both ideas and contents of the paper. There are cases of researchers who outrightly copied other people's work and put their names.

    One thing at a time😍

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 202 ✭✭✭✭

    @Yufita Chinta, I uploaded the preprint version exactly for the opposite reason. I wanted to have a proof that I'm working on this idea.

    Communication is the key to thriving! 😊

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 156 ✭✭✭✭

    So I see similar points from @Gayatri Ramachandran and @Soumi Paul that uploading the manuscript to the pre-print server equals showing your worked and proofed ideas. I get the logic.

    Even, the risks of ideas or content being stolen by predators might present as @Omololu FAGBADEBO has highlighted.

    Then, when is the best timing to release the manuscript to the pre-print server with limited or without risks?

  • Mdumiseni Mdumiseni Mazula
    Mdumiseni Mdumiseni Mazula Member Posts: 68 ✭✭✭

    And please tell me something how long does an evaluation takes I submitted since 2020 but still know final decision and my status hasn't changed its remained the same, what could be a problem?

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 202 ✭✭✭✭

    @Yufita Chinta, I uploaded the manuscript but kept the full text private. So that when someone requests for the full text after reading the abstract, I get to interact with the person, and have an option for myself whether I should share the full text or not.

    Communication is the key to thriving! 😊

  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 312 admin
    edited July 27

    ResearchGate is not a preprint server, so I'm not sure whether it's safe to share an unpublished work there. But as you've mentioned in your second comment, sharing just the abstract on ResearchGate should be fine, I guess. But I really like the idea of getting journal suggestions through preprints. Honestly, it had never occurred to me, but now that I think of it, it's a truly smart and practical move. Sharing your manuscript on a preprint server is a quick way to get your research out there for people to read. Also, preprints often get shared on social media and that's a great way to get more eyeballs on your paper - including some editorial ones. 🤪


    

  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 312 admin

    I'm amazed at how much I get to learn each time we have a discussion on R Voice. I'm so glad you shared your experience about conference papers being uploaded on pre-print servers @Isurika Sevwandi and @Gayatri Ramachandran . This is something new to me. Like @Yufita Chinta, I've always experienced on heard about conference abstracts or presentations being published as part of the conference proceedings. I'm glad some conferences have started doing this - that way you get continuous feedback on your research and can keep building on it till you feel it's ready to be published. I would think journal submissions that have already been improved based on feedback received at a preprint server would be more publication worthy and would have a reduced chance of desk rejection.

  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 312 admin

    On the contrary as Omololu mentioned@Yufita Chinta, if you upload your work on a preprint server, you automatically establish yourself as the author of the research - therefore, your chances of your idea getting scooped or stolen are reduced. If someone else submits a paper to a journal with your idea, the journal's plagiarism checker might detect it since your paper is already available online. Even if the idea has been cleverly paraphrased and escapes the plagiarism test, peer reviewers are likely to have chanced upon your article.

  • Kakoli Majumder
    Kakoli Majumder Member, Administrator, Moderator Posts: 312 admin

    A paper is uploaded on a preprint server without peer review - so it takes just a few days to upload it on a reprint server. However, journal submissions take a long time to evaluate - can be several months or even years, based on the field, availability of reviewers etc.

  • Mdumiseni Mdumiseni Mazula
    Mdumiseni Mdumiseni Mazula Member Posts: 68 ✭✭✭

    Thanks

  • Gayatri Ramachandran
    Gayatri Ramachandran Member Posts: 217 ✭✭✭

    Should I say there is no "no-risk" time or limit to upload your pre-print @Yufita Chinta. From what @Omololu FAGBADEBO has said, I understand that we are hapless if predation and plagiarism of ideas can happen despite pre-prints!

  • Gayatri Ramachandran
    Gayatri Ramachandran Member Posts: 217 ✭✭✭

    Precisely@Kakoli Majumder. However it seems like there still remains a chance that you can be scooped from what I understood @Omololu FAGBADEBO.

  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 185 ✭✭✭
  • Omololu FAGBADEBO
    Omololu FAGBADEBO Member Posts: 185 ✭✭✭

    @Gayatri Ramachandran, with predatory publications, plagiarism is on the rife. As much as I do not use preprint servers, I would prefer to send my manuscript to colleagues that I know for pre-submission review.

    One thing at a time😍

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 202 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 28

    @Kakoli Majumder, I was frustrated due to baseless rejections (rejections without a clear explanation) and desperately seeking an answer/solution. And that is the blessing of a hard time because it makes you learn and prepare you in varied ways. During that time, I e-mailed journals regarding my manuscript and asked if I could submit it (there are journals whose aims and scope may match your work, even then, they may reject). Most of them replied. And because of such a pre-submission query, I saved my time and energy. Needless to mention that I used social media and research-oriented platforms to seek relevant help. And certain appropriate people responded. Their number was less, but at least I got to know whom to contact directly in need! When I shared these things with my colleagues, they were wondering as well as doubting whether these could even be fruitful options or not.

    All these discussions with other researchers gave me two feelings:

    1) researchers still prefer the traditional method - submitting, waiting, and repeat on a rejection (nerve wrecked me that nobody asks a 'wh-' question: why did I get a rejection? what different/else I can do? etc.

    2) researchers are afraid/hesitant/doubtful to communicate, open up, seek help, and use virtual media at its best.

    P.S. That's why the wisest learning of my Ph.D. program (till now) is 'Communication is the key to thriving'!

    Communication is the key to thriving! 😊

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 156 ✭✭✭✭

    learn a lot.

    @Soumi Paul, responding to your last comment, I think I am a traditional researcher. Every time I get my manuscript rejected, I reflect on the rejection comments and take my time both for calming down my emotion and searching for the right time to start again. So far, I have experienced a single rejection for each manuscript in the first targeted journal and they are passed to the peer-review steps in the second targeted journal.

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 202 ✭✭✭✭
    edited July 28

    @Yufita Chinta, at least you got comments. My manuscripts were getting rejected without a cause. After one or two rejections also, people can calm their nerves and resume corrections. But after 5 or 6 unreasonable rejections, I had no idea which way to move and what to do better. So I was desperate to seek solutions because my time was running out, and I needed an answer. Thereby I ended up doing whatever crossed my mind. At the same time, I made improvements to my manuscript with whatever clues came to my attention from the reviews or exchanges with the journal. I am immensely pleased with this self-driven learning as I communicated and explored varied possibilities. The most vital traditional key I carried with me in this process is patience. Seeking new perspectives requires patience: An old key to open a new lock. 

    Communication is the key to thriving! 😊

  • Yufita Chinta
    Yufita Chinta Member Posts: 156 ✭✭✭✭

    @Soumi Paul, "5 or 6 unreasonable rejections" is too much 😢 I am speechless. RG is a great platform. I am helped so much and connected with the experts through RG as well. Well, if your strategy works for you, then please keep doing it.

  • Soumi Paul
    Soumi Paul Member Posts: 202 ✭✭✭✭

    @Yufita Chinta, it was 5 or 6 unreasonable rejections of two manuscripts. Thankfully my strategy gave me a tiny thread of hope and following that thread now I know the suitable journals based on the topic of write-up. The overall experience was luckily beneficial for me.

    Communication is the key to thriving! 😊