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Preprint Servers: Not Just for Physics

Nick Loman has spotted a trend: Genomics researchers are starting to submit their papers to the arXiv preprint server, "which many biologists believe is the reserve of angry physicists, beardy mathematicians, and unwashed computer scientists."

Loman provides a rundown of recent papers posted on arXiv or the preprint discussion site Haldane's Sieve and stresses that these are all "quality manuscripts" that haven't been "dumped there because they couldn't get past the PLOS One reviewers, or something equally banal."

He speculates that these authors recognize the benefits of using a preprint server, including "the immediacy of getting your work out there" and an environment that encourages open discussion. Importantly, posting to a preprint server does not preclude publication in a peer-reviewed journal, he notes.

One potential downside, Loman says, is that although these papers are public, "the community as a whole may not be looking there — arXiv is not archived by PubMed — and so they may not be cited by others routinely because they weren't seen."

However, as commenter casybergman points out, Google Scholar indexes arXiv preprints, "which means that you can see who is citing your work before it is published and you can improve the accuracy of the papers Scholar Update recommends for you."

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