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Preprints for the life sciences

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Science  20 May 2016:
Vol. 352, Issue 6288, pp. 899-901
DOI: 10.1126/science.aaf9133

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A preprint is a complete scientific manuscript (often one also being submitted to a peer-reviewed journal) that is uploaded by the authors to a public server without formal review. After a brief inspection to ensure that the work is scientific in nature, the posted scientific manuscript can be viewed without charge on the Web. Thus, preprint servers facilitate the direct and open delivery of new knowledge and concepts to the worldwide scientific community before traditional validation through peer review (1, 2). Although the preprint server arXiv.org has been essential for physics, mathematics, and computer sciences for over two decades, preprints are currently used minimally in biology.