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Little Bit Improved

A new analysis suggests that peer review helps improve the quality of papers that start out as preprints a little, ScienceInsider reports.

A Federal University of Rio de Janeiro-led team first analyzed preprints published at bioRxiv and PubMed-indexed journals and then also compared peer-reviewed articles and their earlier preprint incarnations. As they report in their own preprint, the researchers found that the quality of reporting was better among peer-reviewed papers, but that the difference between the groups was fairly small — on their quality of reporting measure, peer-reviewed papers scored 72.3 percent, while their preprint predecessors scored 67.6 percent.

Most often, peer-reviewed papers had easier-to-interpret titles and abstracts, which the researchers note might be due to the editorial process peer-reviewed papers undergo.

"Preprints can be considered valid scientific output from a research project," first author Clarissa Carneiro from the Federal University of Rio de Janeiro tells ScienceInsider.