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Can i cite a preprint in a neuroscience paper ?

  1. Feb 8, 2010 #1
    Its becoming more common for journals to have preprint repository sections...i.e. even nature are doing it for neuroscience, and i noticed some respectable scientists are just using this channel to publish stuff at preprint then get colleagues to review, and then not bothering to publish if that paper is only a side issue project for them to make a point. i.e. They are only bothering to go through all the hassle of trying to get journal published when they really have to and using preprints as quick way to develop concepts and pass them round. And this is people near the top of the hierarchy. (no dont ask me for names please)

    As an example i was at a high level neuroscience conference recently..cold spring harbour and some top level guys were just saying the journal system puts them through so much Bull%%% and is slowing them down. Ok i dont want to get into the rights and wrongs of this . That could be a debate in itself and perhaps this is because the journals are a bit overloaded for various reasons.

    What this means is there are papers at preprint stage i need to cite myself, and was wondering if this has caused any of you problems ?i.e. has a journal you submitted to refused to publish a reference to a preprint ?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 9, 2010 #2
    One thing that I've learned is that the culture of journals are *very* different between different fields of science. Astrophysics tends to have a "let's publish everything not totally nutty and let the community figure it out". Economics does not. I don't know about neuroscience. However in astrophysics, it's very common to cite something on the Los Alamos Preprint Server, and anything that's cutting edge that doesn't do that is likely to be thought of as inferior.

    One bit difference between astrophysics and biology is that the major astrophysics journals are non-profit entities controlled by the professional societies, whereas in most biology journals, the major journals are owned by big for-profit publishers that stand to lose a lot of money if people bypass the journals.

    Also there is a difference between a "draft paper" and a "preprint." It's very common in the social sciences to publish draft papers for comment and these are marked "not for citation" and as professional courtesy, people don't cite these papers. Curiously this sort of thing doesn't happen very often in astrophysics. The other thing that is interesting in the social sciences is the difference between a "working paper" and a "journal article."
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