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Preprints Encouraged by #ASAPbio

There's been an uptick in the number of preprints submitted to servers like bioRxiv following the ASAPbio meeting last month, the New York Times reports.

The meeting sought to encourage biology researchers to make their work rapidly available. Other fields like physics have long relied on preprints to disseminate their work, but biology mainly follows the traditional journal publication route, the Times notes. It adds that some journals won't consider papers that have been published as preprints, though others like Science and Nature will. Still that makes it risky, for newer investigators especially, to try novel publishing routes as grants, jobs, and promotions are commonly tied to where papers are published.

The #ASAPbio supporters say that sticking to the older publishing model means that researchers aren't fulfilling their duty to the public that funds much of their work and that the speed of science is slowed as papers are submitted and often re-submitted to other journals and wend their way through the publishing process.

Journals and their supporters argue, though, that the field benefits from peer review and that the quality of papers would suffer if they were submitted as preprints.

The Times notes that most researchers don't want to replace the journal system with preprints, but want the two to complement each other.

"It's not beer or tacos," James Fraser, an assistant professor at the University of California, San Francisco, said at the meeting according to the Times, "it's beer AND tacos."

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