Publishing Research Papers In Journals

A persistent issue surrounding preprints is the concern that work may be at risk of being plagiarized or ‘scooped’—meaning that the same or similar research will be published by others without proper attribution to the original source—if the original is publicly available without the stamp of approval from peer reviewers and traditional journals [10].These concerns are often amplified as competition increases for academic jobs and funding, and perceived to be particularly problematic for early-career researchers and other higher-risk demographics within academia. Considering the differences between traditional peer-review based publishing models and deposition of an article on a preprint server, ‘scooping’ is less likely for manuscripts first submitted as preprints.Thus, a preprint can act as proof of provenance for research ideas, data, code, models, and results [14].

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Yet, there is no official open record of that process (e.g., peer reviewers are normally anonymous, reports remain largely unpublished), and if an identical or very similar paper were to be published while the original was still under review, it would be impossible to establish provenance.

Preprints provide a time-stamp at time of publication, which establishes the “priority of discovery” for scientific claims ([13], Figure 1).

The discussion has been constructed in this way to emphasize and focus on precise issues that need addressing.

We, the authors, come from a range of backgrounds, as an international group with a variety of experiences in scholarly communication (e.g., publishing, policy, journalism, multiple research disciplines, editorial and peer review, technology, advocacy).

Against this backdrop, spurious, misinformed, or even deceptive arguments are sometimes deployed, intentionally or not.

With established positions and vested interests on all sides, misleading arguments circulate freely and can be difficult to counter.

In particular, the announcement of ‘Plan S’ in 2018 seems to have catalyzed a new wave of debate in scholarly communication, surfacing old and new tensions.

While such discussions are by no means new in this ecosystem, this highlights a potential knowledge gap for key components of scholarly communication and the need for better-informed debates [5].

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