Using Preprints in Evidence Synthesis: Commentary on experience during the COVID-19 pandemic
Barbara Clyne et al.
Introduction SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, has rapidly spread, causing millions of cases and deaths globally. Controlling the COVID-19 pandemic requires swift decision making based on initially sparse, and rapidly emerging evidence. There has been a proliferation of scientific literature in basic science, clinical medicine and public health disseminated through traditional peer review and increasingly, due to the urgent need for information, shared on preprint servers.(1, 2) Preprint servers are repositories of preliminary or advanced manuscripts that have not undergone formal peer review. Typically, preprint manuscripts precede those submitted to peer-reviewed journals, but they can also be published simultaneously.(3) Editorial staff of preprint servers perform screening checks related to article scope, plagiarism and compliance with legal or ethical standards. (4, 5) The majority of preprint servers provide a DOI for each manuscript.(4) Manuscripts will remain on the servers and while up to a third will later be published in peer-reviewed journals (resulting in multiple versions of the same study(6)), some may never be submitted for peer review or be accepted. (6-9) The advantages of preprints include early and rapid dissemination, opportunities for informal commenting, potential decreased publication bias and greater recognition and visibility of work, particularly for early-career researchers.(10-12) Evidence also suggests that peer-reviewed articles with a co-existing preprint are associated with more attention and citations than those without a preprint. (8, 13) The number of papers published on preprint servers has increased steadily since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic. In the early stages of the pandemic (up to April 2020) the majority of preprint articles were published by authors from China and were modeling studies.(1, 14) When compared to non COVID-19 related preprints, COVID-19 related preprints are shorter, contain fewer references and have more variability in authorship team size, with single-authorship more common.(15)
LEGGI TUTTO. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jclinepi.2021.05.010