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Don't Mention Preprints

An open letter with more than 600 signatories is calling on the Australian Research Council to rescind a change made to a grant application rule, according to the Guardian.

It adds the ARC recently tweaked a rule so that grant applicants would no longer be able to cite preprints in their funding proposals. Previously, applicants were only barred from listing preprints in the CV section of their proposals, Times Higher Education notes. Now, according to the Australian Financial Review, any application that refers at all to a preprint is disqualified from receiving funding. This change, THE says, caught applicants for Future Fellowship and Discovery Early Career Researcher Award grants off-guard.

The Guardian reports that John Shine, the president of the Australian Academy of Science, wrote to Alan Tudge, the federal education minister, to express concerns about the rule change. "It could easily be argued that a researcher not referencing material found in preprints is not using the full range of contemporary knowledge in a discipline," Shine wrote.

Additionally, an open letter to Tudge and Sue Thomas, the chief executive of ARC, that argues that referencing preprints in funding applications is essential to be able to best weigh a proposal's novelty and value has drawn more than 600 signatures, the Guardian says.

The ARC is now looking into the rule change, it adds.