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Preprints Transform Most Papers into Immediate Open Access with Higher Citation Rates

Online preprint servers allow researchers to quickly disseminate work freely without compromising copyrights. While making new research easy to find, download, and cite, preprint servers also establish primacy and the versioning record.

Preprints qualify for this treatment because the manuscript has not yet been submitted to, accepted by, or revised in any way by a publisher, and the copyright is held by the author(s). Most, but not all, publishers now approve of preprint servers. To be certain that your planned journal permits preprint publication, check it using the SHERPA/ROMEO tool in advance!

A. Preprint
B. Postprint
C. Final Publisher Version
  • Author original in Word or text
  • Ready for submission to publisher
  • No corrections made
  • Author holds copyright
  • Accepted manuscript
  • Peer reviewed
  • Editorial corrections made
  • May still be in Word
  • Copyright may transfer
  • Formatted by publisher
  • Typeset by publisher
  • Edited, ready for publication
  • PDF format
  • Copyright may transfer


How does posting your work on a preprint server make it “open access?”

Additional benefits of preprints are not traditionally associated with open access:

Where can preprint servers be found? Below are some federated preprint search tools, each linked to several reliable preprint servers:

For individual health sciences preprint servers and more resources, visit the HSLS Guide to Scholarly Communication: Publishing.

If you need assistance, contact Andrea Ketchum at  or 412-648-9757.

~Andrea Ketchum


Posted in the December 2018 Issue