Preprints and Scholarly Communication: Adoption, Practices, Drivers and Barriers

Andrea ChiarelliEmma Richens


Background: Since 2013, there has been a dramatic increase in the number of preprint servers available online. To date, little is known about the position of researchers, funders, research performing organisations and other stakeholders with respect to this fast-paced landscape. In this article, we explore the benefits and challenges of preprint posting, along with issues such as infrastructure and financial sustainability. We also discuss the definition of a 'preprint' in different communities, and the impact this has on further uptake. Methods: This study is based on 38 detailed semi-structured interviews of key stakeholders based on a purposive heterogeneous sampling approach. Interviews were undertaken between October 2018 and January 2019. These were recorded, transcribed and subjected to thematic analysis to identify trends. Interview questions were designed based on Innovation Diffusion Theory, which is also used to interpret the results of this study. Results: Our study is the first using empirical data to understand the new wave of preprint servers and found that early and fast dissemination is the most appealing feature of the practice. The main concerns are related to the lack of quality assurance and the 'Ingelfinge...Continue Reading


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