The HSLS Update has published numerous articles about preprints over the years. Here we introduce another iteration of the preprint movement—Research Square, a multidisciplinary platform that helps researchers share their work early, gather feedback, and improve their manuscripts prior to (or in parallel with) journal submission.
So what differentiates Research Square from other preprint servers? The focus is on “added value” features such as:
- Increased discoverability and readability due to indexed and machine-readable full text in HTML
- Commenting via a custom-built system or the hypothesis annotation tool
- Figure rendering with a lightbox, which allows for zooming and downloading
- Full metrics, including Altmetrics and Dimensions data
- Research Square Badges to indicate preprint quality
- Editing services to improve the manuscript prior to journal submission
- Video and infographic services to help communicate the research
In addition, Research Square collaborates with Springer Nature on a free preprint service that provides authors with the opportunity to have their manuscript posted online in conjunction with submission to select journals. This service, called In Review, gives authors and readers access to the manuscript status through a peer review timeline during the article review process by the selected journal.
Research Square accepts many types of submissions: research articles, systematic reviews, methods articles, short reports, case reports, and data notes. The latter type is particularly compelling, as it provides an opportunity to post a brief write-up of a single dataset (Data Note example). All submissions are encouraged to include a Data Availability Statement documenting where to locate the data. Unacceptable submission types are literature reviews, hypotheses, opinions, theories, and commentaries, but manuscripts reporting negative results are included.
Each posted preprint is published under a Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0 license and assigned a Digital Object Identifier (DOI) issued through Crossref. The community-supported scholarly content preservation repository, Portico, permanently archives all content. In addition to preprints, Research Square posts protocols from Protocol Exchange, an open repository of community-contributed protocols sponsored by Nature Research. Explore the FAQ for additional information about the entire Research Square preprint platform.