Three reasons to share your preprints

Preprints are part of a growing interest in sharing early stage research.

The amount of early stage research—like preprints, data, and negative results—uploaded yearly to ResearchGate has increased fivefold since 2008.

It’s not hard to see why. When you share a preprint, you make your own draft version of a paper available before any peer review process. Preprints accelerate science by getting results in front of more people faster, giving your peers an opportunity to provide you with rapid feedback.

What’s more, when you get your work out quickly, you’re giving your peers an insight into what you’re working on now, helping build an audience for your work before it’s published.

To help your readers keep track of which version of your article they’re reading, we now offer a feature that allows you to link your preprint with the publication page for the final version published in a journal (here’s how it works). Once your article is published, we will then notify the researchers who were interested in your preprint. This way, if the full text is allowed, they can check for updates and see how their feedback may have contributed to your final version.

Here are three more reasons to consider sharing your preprints:

1. Get feedback on what you’re working on now (when it matters)

If you upload your preprint to ResearchGate, you can easily request feedback from your peers. Just click the little arrow next to the share button, and choose “Request feedback” from the dropdown menu. We will then notify your network, and other select experts on the topic, that you would like to hear from them.

Our numbers reveal that they are more than happy to help you out. Out of all types of publications on ResearchGate (conference papers, articles etc.), preprints get the highest number of comments on average - almost 11 times more than published journal articles.

Your peers can also share your preprint with their network by recommending it, which is the ultimate positive feedback. What’s more, getting a recommendation helps you build an audience that will likely keep an eye on how your work develops.

2. Get your current work cited sooner

Researchers in biomedical science wait eight months on average after submitting their article to a journal for it to be published – that’s eight months in which peers could have already built on, cited, and advanced that research.

Adding a preprint helps your peers understand what you are doing now and makes your work immediately citable. We provide a timestamp, which tells your peers when your work was published. When you upload a preprint to ResearchGate, you can give it a Digital Object Identifier (DOI). This is a permanent identification number that will always stay with your preprint, meaning it can always be found. Read more about DOIs here.

The graph below shows the growth in citations of early stage research for which we've issued DOIs. This early stage research includes preprints, posters, data and everything else uploaded prior to any peer review process.

3. Get more reads on your current work

We’re committed to helping others discover your early stage research, including preprints, because we’re convinced this can speed up the pace of scientific discovery. Therefore, we will do our best to promote early research on the network – which means more reads for you.

You can help us by writing a precise and descriptive title and abstract for your work. This information helps your peers and us to understand what your research is about, and who else could be interested in it.

What’s more, an informative title and abstract also help other search engines get the gist of your preprint, and pick it up in search results. This helps you to build your audience beyond ResearchGate: on average, publications with an abstract get three times the traffic of those without.

Of course, if you’re making the full text of a preprint publicly available, be sure to check any license terms that may apply. Publication of preprints after the version of record is available is often subject to restrictions. Also, if you’re planning to publish in a journal, check the publisher’s policies to confirm they’ll accept your draft after it’s already been made publicly available.


Inspired? Here's how you can share your preprints.