Anyone have any experience with preprints? (Format question)

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In summary, the conversation discusses the process of releasing a preprint of a research paper before it has been peer reviewed. The individual is looking for employment and believes that a preprint will help showcase their work. However, their supervisor is hesitant to release a preprint before peer review. There is a discussion about the best format to upload the preprint, with some suggesting a PDF and others suggesting a Word document. It is also mentioned that Researchgate may not be the best platform for preprints and that the arXiv may be a better option. Ultimately, the individual is seeking a mid-point with their supervisor but is not receiving support for releasing a preprint. The conversation ends with the suggestion of bringing a copy of the preprint to job
  • #1
rwooduk
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Hi,

I am currently looking for employment whilst finishing my PhD, I have a published review but I have not yet published my experimental papers. Since they are near completion (well, one of them) I am hoping (if my supervisor let's me) to release a preprint.

I would like to ask anyone who has uploaded a preprint before, what file format do I use? At present it is obviously in a word document, do I just upload the word document, or convert it to pdf? Researchgate (where I will be uploading) seems to accept all file types. Will they convert the file? Did you upload yours to a different website? Do I attempt to use another format so the references are 'clickable'? The accepted (hopefully) paper will be formatted at a later date by the journal, but what do I use / do for now?

Thanks for any help.
 
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  • #2
You send it to the preprint server when you send it to the journal. Usually that means it's post-formatting.
 
  • #3
Vanadium 50 said:
You send it to the preprint server when you send it to the journal. Usually that means it's post-formatting.

Thanks for the reply, sorry, but I don't understand.

I'll be sending it to the journal in Word format, the journal will do the formatting. I have a word document that has heading, sub-headings etc and a second word file that has the figures. Do I just upload these as-is to the preprint website?
 
  • #4
You made it sound like you want to send it to the preprint server before the journal. This is not how it's usually done.
 
  • #5
Vanadium 50 said:
You made it sound like you want to send it to the preprint server before the journal. This is not how it's usually done.

Hmm, it's probably me being stupid here but, I thought you upload the preprint at the same time as sending to the journal?

Put simply, a preprint is a full draft of a research paper that is shared publicly before it has been peer reviewed. Preprints may be lightly edited or screened, but they are typically not typeset or built into full web pages. In today’s scholarly publishing world, preprints are frequently given a digital object identifier (DOI) so they can be cited in other research papers.

Formatting is only done by the journal when it is accepted and they format it in line with their requirements.

This is how I understand publishing usually goes...

Step 1) Written word document
Step 2) Send word document to journal
Step 3) Peer review
Step 4) If accepted, the journal formats the article and adds it to it's collection

This is how I understand preprints to go...

Step 1) Written word document
Step 2) Send word document to journal
Step 3) Upload word (?) document to preprint site
Step 4) If accepted, link DOI of preprint, given by the preprint site, to accepted manuscript in the journal collection

I'm somewhat confused here.
 
  • #6
And I don't think I am clearing this confusion up. Just out of curiosity, why aren't you working with your advisor on this?
 
  • #7
Vanadium 50 said:
And I don't think I am clearing this confusion up. Just out of curiosity, why aren't you working with your advisor on this?

Basically my supervisor is hesitant to release a preprint before peer review as she takes the view that any mistakes could reflect badly on us, but this is still in discussion between us, I am hoping to convince her otherwise. I am pushing for preprint because (a) I am looking for employment, including applying for research positions, but have no experimental papers published so it is hindering my efforts! Even though I state on my applications I have 4 experimental papers coming within the next 4 months. I need something to show my experimental work, and quickly because I am running out of money and need employment. (b) I have read only good things about preprints, they get the research out there quickly so people can build upon it, you can 'stake a claim' to your findings earlier and also you can get some useful feedback which I could potentially add to the finished manuscript before final submission.

Thanks for your help anyway! If my supervisor agrees I will upload it in word format and if it looks bad then delete and re-upload in a different format.
 
  • #8
Are you sure Researchgate is a good choice? Assuming it is a physics paper I would have thought the arXiv would be better.
Researchgate is not really a preprint server as such and is -AFAIK- not indexed by any search engines.

I would convert the Word file to PDF before sending it anywhere.
 
  • #9
IMHO, you should not release research before it is ready for publication. That would make a bad impression of sloppiness. And you should protect your intellectual property rights. Research results should be handled in the standard way or you may get some ugly surprises.
 
  • #10
FactChecker said:
IMHO, you should not release research before it is ready for publication. That would make a bad impression of sloppiness. And you should protect your intellectual property rights. Research results should be handled in the standard way or you may get some ugly surprises.

That is my supervisors standpoint, but under the circumstances of me needing a job I would hope for some mid-point, but it's not happening. Thanks for your view on this!

f95toli said:
Are you sure Researchgate is a good choice? Assuming it is a physics paper I would have thought the arXiv would be better.
Researchgate is not really a preprint server as such and is -AFAIK- not indexed by any search engines.

I would convert the Word file to PDF before sending it anywhere.

Ut's chemical engineering (mulitdisciplined) but thanks I appreciates the feedback!
 
  • #11
n
rwooduk said:
That is my supervisors standpoint, but under the circumstances of me needing a job I would hope for some mid-point, but it's not happening.
You might take a copy with you to any interview so they can see it. I don't know if they would expect you to leave a copy with them. Your supervisor might have an opinion on that.
 
  • #12
FactChecker said:
n You might take a copy with you to any interview so they can see it. I don't know if they would expect you to leave a copy with them. Your supervisor might have an opinion on that.

That's a very good idea, thanks for the suggestion!
 
  • #13
My view is that the availability of preprints is important for students who are in the process of making important applications and listing the papers on their CVs. Since we have an excellent quality control process in my research group, it is much more likely that the quality of the papers will make a favorable impression on anyone who bothers to look rather than any mistakes making an unfavorable impression. Time delays in the peer-review and editorial process often add 6-18 months before papers are in print, and if a paper adds significant strength to a student's applications, I want those evaluating their applications to be able to read the papers for themselves.

arXiv is our preferred preprint publication venue. Format is either a pdf generated from a word processor or a LaTeX document, depending on how the student prepared it, which, in turn, depends on the requirements of the journal. We don't usually attempt to make references click through, as it is easy enough to cut and paste them into search engines for interested readers. We do make a few small changes from what might be submitted to the journal to improve readability, but not often more than removing line numbers and single spacing. Occasionally, RG is used in addition to or instead of arXiv. We use the same pdf for RG that we do/would for arXiv. I prefer arXiv, as papers here pop up on Google Scholar and other search engines, arXiv establishes priority on the work, and lots of interested readers find out papers on arXiv. RG is used when we have not ruled out submitting to a venue that is unfriendly to prior posting at arXiv. A lot of readers find and read our papers through RG (RG keeps track and generates reports of readers.)

Our group has an excellent quality control process, and there has never been a case where journal peer reviewers or readers have caught a significant error after submission. There are several key components:
1. Lots of careful reading and editing by co-authors. Usually the first author creates the initial draft with regularly feedback and guidance from me. Once a fairly mature copy is nearing being ready for submission, other co-authors provide a careful reading and feedback.
2. Once all the co-authors are happy with it, the paper is read and commented on by group members who are not co-authors. They are familiar with the project through various discussions, but can look at the paper with fresh eyes.
3. Once feedback from all group members is incorporated, the paper is distributed to a short list of external peer-reviewers (not in the research group) selected by the first author and the PI on the project (usually me, occasionally another PhD). This step was actually required by the chains of command at the Air Force Academy and West Point, but it is excellent practice and we have continued it. Our experience has been that most carefully chosen external reviewers pay more attention and give more valuable feedback than peer-reviewers selected by journal editors.
 
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  • #14
rwooduk said:
Hi,

I am currently looking for employment whilst finishing my PhD, I have a published review but I have not yet published my experimental papers. Since they are near completion (well, one of them) I am hoping (if my supervisor let's me) to release a preprint.

I would like to ask anyone who has uploaded a preprint before, what file format do I use? At present it is obviously in a word document, do I just upload the word document, or convert it to pdf? Researchgate (where I will be uploading) seems to accept all file types. Will they convert the file? Did you upload yours to a different website? Do I attempt to use another format so the references are 'clickable'? The accepted (hopefully) paper will be formatted at a later date by the journal, but what do I use / do for now?

Thanks for any help.

This may be late, but what the hey...

The only preprint server that I use is arXiv. If this is where you intend to submit, then why aren't you looking for the instructions there? It should be fairly obvious on what they require. Your word document is already sufficient. They are not a journal. Other than file type, they have no requirements on format or style. And if you're already typing your manuscript for a journal, then use that journal's style.

What you should concern yourself right now is to seek the OK of your supervisor. He/she may not want you to upload the manuscript online first before submission to a journal. This is not something you can decide unilaterally.

Zz.
 
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  • #15
Dr. Courtney said:
My view is that the availability of preprints is important for students who are in the process of making important applications and listing the papers on their CVs. Since we have an excellent quality control process in my research group, it is much more likely that the quality of the papers will make a favorable impression on anyone who bothers to look rather than any mistakes making an unfavorable impression. Time delays in the peer-review and editorial process often add 6-18 months before papers are in print, and if a paper adds significant strength to a student's applications, I want those evaluating their applications to be able to read the papers for themselves.

This is also my view. Thank you for your other advice. I will keep working on my supervisor.
 

Related to Anyone have any experience with preprints? (Format question)

1. What are preprints?

Preprints are draft versions of scientific research papers that have not yet undergone peer review or been published in a scientific journal. They are typically shared online through preprint servers or repositories.

2. Why do researchers use preprints?

Researchers use preprints as a way to quickly disseminate their findings and receive feedback from the scientific community before their paper is formally published. This allows for faster communication and collaboration among researchers.

3. Is sharing preprints considered prior publication?

No, sharing preprints is not considered prior publication and will not prevent researchers from submitting their work to a journal for peer review. However, some journals may have specific policies regarding preprints, so it is important to check with the journal before submitting.

4. Are preprints reliable sources of information?

Preprints are not yet peer reviewed, so they should be viewed as preliminary findings and not considered as final or definitive. However, preprints can still provide valuable insights and information for researchers.

5. How do I cite a preprint?

When citing a preprint, it is important to include the author names, title, the name of the preprint server or repository, the date it was posted, and a digital object identifier (DOI) if available. It is also recommended to include a statement indicating that the work is a preprint and has not yet been peer reviewed.

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