The University of Pittsburgh Health Sciences Library has introduced a new federated search engine that enables users to simultaneously search a number of databases which allow for the deposit and peer review of prepublication article manuscripts. Researchers can access articles on the most current topics prior to their final publication. The resource has blog-like features which allow others to discuss the article prior to its submission to a publisher, resulting in a thread of scholarly communication between the author and members of the scientific community. The database, bioPreprint, may be found at http://www.hsls.pitt.edu/resources/preprint.
A preprint database offers open access to articles with authors who want to “make their findings immediately available to the scientific community and receive feedback on draft manuscripts before they are submitted to journals.” Articles which appear in these databases are not copy edited but are scanned for plagiarism, offensive language, etc.
bioPreprint includes articles from the following:
- arXiv (pronounced “archive,” it covers mainly quantitative biology), physics, mathematics, computer sciende, nonlinear sciences, and statistics from 1991 forward
- bioRxiv (pronounced “bio-archive”) information includes ranges from animal behavior and cognition to clinical trials, from neuroscience to zoology
- F1000Research This database includes posters and slides, each of which receives a digital object identifier. Articles with source data are published within one week; they are indexed by Scopus, PubMed, and Goofle Scholar.
- PeerJ Preprints covers biological, medical, and computer sciences. Their aim is to reduce publishing costs borne by authors while at the same time publishing innovative research.
Each database is linked from the home page of bioPreprint and may be searched separately or simultaneously. The bioPreprint database is easy to search. It is word or phrase searched, with words in a phrase surround by quotes or literals. Terminology is typed into the textbox provided on the home page. Results take a few minutes to gather. For users who want to narrow their results, the database allows limiting; in the lower left corner of the results is displayed a tally of the top results, followed by phrases and article counts, e.g. human brain development (10) under “zika virus.”. These phrases may be clicked and will yield a second set of results specific to the limited topic focus. Users can click on the title of each article displayed as a result and are taken to the original database where the article was deposited. There, it is possible to view the draft article, as well as reader comments.
The database provides users with directions on how to cite these preprint publications. For those who are performing a systematic review of a topic, bioPreprint may be an important source of information.
Users are also encouraged to download the “bookmarklet.” This integrates text from any web page, such as a meeting web site seamlessly. Users download this into their web browsers. It is possible to use the bookmarklet as a pop-up search engine to look for unpublished manuscripts by word or phrase within the online contents. Further information on the bioPreprint bookmarklet, along with directions on downloading and searching, are available on the database’s home page.
Those who are interested in specific academic journal policies with respect to preprint publication should go here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_academic_journals_by_preprint_policy.