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F1000 Research: a pre-print server?

Posted by Rebecca Lawrence, 7 February 2012

First, a big thank you for all the supportive comments on Twitter and in the blogosphere to our plans at F1000 Research.  We are under no illusion this is going to be a tough project and need all the feedback you can offer!

Unsurprisingly, the greatest concerns have been around the idea of immediate publication followed by post-publication peer review. We have received a wealth of views – supportive comments and valid concerns – on this site and elsewhere, including Retraction Watch and at ArsTechnica, both of which have sparked long debates.  As we will do when we start publishing, we have linked those debates to the original article so others that may not be aware can see the discussion going on elsewhere. We will revise our plans where necessary based on the outcome of these debates.

The first thing I would like to do is address some of the recurring themes in these discussions. This post will focus on the comparison some respondents have made between F1000 Research and pre-print servers such as ArXiv and Nature Precedings (or indeed our own F1000 Posters). I think this has ended up a slightly confusing analogy; F1000 Research will be much more than a pre-print server and in fact is more similar to traditional publishing approaches except for 2 major differences: immediate publication and open post-publication peer review.

  1. Immediate publication
  2. Once an article is submitted, the article is made visible and published, i.e. priority stamped immediately with the time and date. It will then be clearly labelled as ‘submitted for refereeing’ and peer reviewers will be formally invited for all papers (just as on a traditional journal). This should encourage authors to think carefully about what stage they submit their work (just as they do now when submitting to a journal) to ensure they do not open themselves up to public criticism from the referees due to their work being too preliminary in nature.

    We will be encouraging additional comments from registered users but we are certainly not going to be relying on those.  As others have noted, uninvited commenting on the publisher’s site is often sporadic, although there is evidence that articles are increasingly discussed on Twitter and other social media outlets (just as with our recent announcement) and we will be connecting those comments to the original article.

  3. Open post-publication refereeing

As referee reports come in, these will be made immediately visible to all. The authors will be encouraged to engage in discussion with the referees (in the open) and to amend and improve their article, with all versions of the article stored and accessible. The peer review status of the article will be clearly displayed.

My next post will address some of the concerns we have heard about content quality. As always, we welcome your thoughts on everything we say here.  If you want to discuss this issue on your own blog, then please do add a trackback here so others can follow the trail.

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