The Australian Research Council has rescinded its recently announced policy and now allows preprints to be cited in grant applications, Nature News reports.
The rule had meant that any application that referred to a preprint at all was disqualified from receiving funding, as the Australian Financial Review reported last month. The Times Higher Education added that the shift caught many grant applicants by surprised, as they were previously only not allowed to include preprints in the CV section of their application. Hundreds of researchers signed an open letter calling on the ARC to review the change, as did John Shine, the president of the Australian Academy of Science, in his own letter to the federal education minister, as the Guardian reported then.
According to Nature News, the ARC has reversed itself and will now allow applicants to reference preprints not only in the body of their application, but also in lists of research output. However, it notes that the change won't extend to those recently ruled ineligible or currently under review, though those researchers may appeal.
The University of Melbourne Nicole Bell tells Nature News that "given that the rule was ill-conceived, poorly communicated, and now revoked for future grant rounds, there is a compelling case to reconsider the applications that were rejected."