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Preprint: The version of a scholarly paper that precedes formal peer review


A preprint, also known as the Author’s Original Manuscript (AOM), is the version of an article that precedes formal peer review.


flow of scholarly publishing


Depositing Preprints

Depositing preprints

Some authors may post their preprints on a preprint server before submitting to a journal to enjoy the benefits brought by preprints.



Depositing preprints can bring about benefits including:


The research can become available for others to read before the final version is published. As publication times can sometimes be lengthy, this enables other researchers to see the research more quickly.


Preprint servers typically assign a DOI (Digital Object Identifie) to a preprint, which can help to create a record of research and establish primacy for the discoveries without having to wait for the final version to be published.


Posting a preprint allows other researchers to offer feedback which may help to improve the article before the formal journal peer review process.

Research impact

The research presented in a preprint will be publicly available for other researchers to cite and build upon more quickly.

Source: What are preprints and preprint servers? ; 7 Benefits of Preprints



Different journals may have different policies on posting preprints prior to publication - encouraging, allowing conditionally, or restricting. Authors should always watch the journals' policies before posting preprints.

Here are some examples:

With restrictions
Not allowed

The above list is not exhaustive, and only reflects the situation when the list was compiled.

For latest information, please refer to the guidelines for authors of the journals.


Using preprints

Using Preprints

Use with caution

Readers should always bear in mind that preprints must be understood as an incomplete work in progress, in which the findings presented are yet to be vetted and should be examined with caution.

For example, medRxiv displays a message to caution readers:


Preprints are preliminary reports of work that have not been certified by peer review. They should not be relied on to guide clinical practice or health-related behavior and should not be reported in news media as established information.



The preprints discussion document (p.4) by COPE (Committee on Publication Ethics), of which many major publishers, such as Elsevier, Sage, Springer Nature, Taylor and Francis, and Wiley, are members, states that:

For journals
  • In general, preprints are considered to establish precedence.
  • It is relevant for authors to cite other preprints which authors have considered during research or are relevant to their work. This is in line with the expectation that other non-peer-reviewed sources such as datasets, blogs or books should be cited.


Nonetheless, different publishers may have different policies regarding citation of preprints.

For example, Nature states in its formatting guide that:


Only articles that have been published or accepted by a named publication, or that have been uploaded to a recognized preprint server (for example, arXiv, bioRxiv), should be in the reference list.

Authors should always check the journal's formatting guide regarding citation of preprints.


List of popular preprint servers


  • arXiv e-print server is a free distribution service and an open-access archive for scholarly articles in the fields of physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and systems science, and economics.
  • Authorea Preprint Repository provide access to over 43,300 multi-disciplinary research preprints.
  • ChinaXiv is an open repository and distribution service for scientific researchers in the field of natural science, which accepts scholarly preprints and conditionally accepts published articles.
  • HAL is a public, sustainable and responsible infrastructure providing access to scientific documents including preprints.
  • Jxiv is a full-fledged preprint server in Japan that makes unpublished, pre-reviewed papers (preprints) available for open access, in all research fields including natural sciences, humanities, social sciences, and interdisciplinary sciences in either Japanese or English.
  • OSF preprints is a preprints discovery site, enabling discovery of over 2 million preprints in various disciplines aggregated from repositories built on the Open Science Framework platform.
  • is a multi-discipline platform providing preprint service that is dedicated to making early versions of research outputs permanently available and citable.
  • SSRN (Social Science Research Network) is a repository for preprints devoted to the rapid dissemination of scholarly research in the social sciences, humanities, life sciences, and health sciences, among others.
  • Zenodo is a general-purpose open-access repository developed under the European OpenAIRE.

Arts and Humanities

  • Humanities Commons (CORE) is the result of a collaboration between the Modern Language Association and the Center for Digital Research and Scholarship at Columbia University, enabling deposit and discovery of open-access scholarship and teaching materials.
  • PhilArchive is the largest open access e-print archive for philosophical works.

Business and Economics



  • engrXiv Preprints is an open access pre-print server for all areas of engineering.
  • TechRxiv powered by IEEE provides access to pre-prints in technology research.


  • medRxiv is a free online archive and distribution server for complete but unpublished manuscripts (preprints) in the medical, clinical, and related health sciences.


  • bioRxiv is a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences.
  • CERN Document Server includes the Preprints collection, which aims to cover as far as possible all the grey literature in particle physics and its related technologies.
  • ChemRxiv is a free online submission, distribution, and archival service for unpublished preprints in chemistry and related areas.
  • Cryptology ePrint Archive provides rapid access to recent research in cryptology.
  • Earth and Space Science Open Archive (ESSOAr) is a community server established to accelerate the open discovery and dissemination of Earth and space science early research outputs, including preprints and posters presented at major scientific meetings.
  • EarthArXiv Preprints is a free preprint service for the earth sciences.

Social Sciences

  • PsyArXiv is an open-access, preprint digital archive dedicated to psychological science that gives the public free, first-hand access to new science.
  • SocArXiv is an open-access archive of preprint papers in the social and behavioral sciences.


This above list is not exhaustive.

For more details on available preprint servers, please refer to: List of preprint servers: policies and practices across platforms by ASAPbio.

Discovering Prepints with Preprint Citation Index (Web of Science)

Preprint Citation Index

Preprint Citation Index in Web of Science is a multidisciplinary collection of preprints from a wide range of leading preprint repositories.

It currently enables discovery of approximately 2.5M preprint records in 5 repositories:

  • arXiv: physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and systems science, and economics
  • bioRxiv: biology
  • medRxiv: medical, clinical, and related health sciences
  • chemRxiv: chemistry and related fields
  • multidisciplinary spanning science, social sciences, and arts & humanities




Introduction to the Preprint Citation Index by Web of Science Training



How to access


To discover preprints with Preprint Citation Index, you can:

  1. Access Web of Science database:
  2. Select "Preprint Citation Index" to search in.

    select "Preprint Citation Index"
  3. Start searching by entering keywords.
  4. In the search result list, preprints will be clearly indicated.

    Preprint Citation Index - search result list sample