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Rise of the Preprint

While physicists have been sharing pre-publication results for some time, biologists have been slower to follow suit, but they are increasingly embracing preprints, Wired reports.

It notes that when BioRxiv began in 2013, about 50 papers were added each month and that that figure is now 1,000 papers a month.

Some scientists say that relying on preprints will speed up the pace of science. Stanford University's Stephen Quake has estimated that if a preprint motivates two other researchers, then there'd be five-fold increase in the speed of biological research within 10 years, according to Wired.

However, others say that speed may negatively affect quality, Wired adds, though it notes that BioRxiv preprints have a pretty good track record — about 60 percent of them go on to be published in traditional journals.

Still, Wired notes there are drawbacks to posting preprints, as some journals won't consider papers that have been available elsewhere and journal publications are key factors in tenure and other decisions.

"I don't think we're looking at a world where professional journals magically disappear," the Broad Institute's Daniel MacArthur tells Wired. "But the publishing business model will no longer depend on being the sole gatekeepers of access to scientific communication."

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