Skip to main content
SearchLoginLogin or Signup

Preprints: a tool and a vehicle towards greater reproducibility in the life sciences

Published onDec 30, 2020
Preprints: a tool and a vehicle towards greater reproducibility in the life sciences


We have seen a number of initiatives arise in recent years aiming to tackle concerns around the reproducibility of published findings. Researchers in the life sciences now have a number of tools at their disposal to boost the reproducibility of their science and preprints have emerged as an instrumental element within this toolkit. Preprints broaden the when, by whom and how of the review and feedback on research compared to the journal publication process, help address publication bias, and can play an important role as a vehicle towards open science practices. Preprints hold further untapped potential to close the gap between discovery and dissemination, and to accelerate the path to a more reproducible research ecosystem.

Keywords: preprints, reproducibility, open science, publication bias, peer review


De Angelis C, Drazen JM, Frizelle FA, Haug C, Hoey J, Horton R, et al. Clinical Trial Registration: A Statement from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. N Engl J Med. 2004 Sep 16;351(12):1250–1.

Ioannidis JPA. Why Most Published Research Findings Are False. PLOS Med. 2005 Aug 30;2(8):e124.

Nosek BA, Errington TM. Making sense of replications. eLife. 2017 Jan 19;6:e23383.

Bring structure to your research [Internet]. [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from:

Nosek BA, Alter G, Banks GC, Borsboom D, Bowman SD, Breckler SJ, et al. Promoting an open research culture. Science. 2015 Jun 26;348(6242):1422–5.

Library | The EQUATOR Network [Internet]. [cited Dec 3]. Available from:

Turner EH, Matthews AM, Linardatos E, Tell RA, Rosenthal R. Selective Publication of Antidepressant Trials and Its Influence on Apparent Efficacy. N Engl J Med. 2008 Jan 17;358(3):252–60.

Therapeutic fashion and publication bias: the case of anti-arrhythmic drugs in heart attack. [Internet]. The James Lind Library. [cited 2020 Dec 3]. Available from:

BBC Radio 4 - The Life Scientific, Ottoline Leyser on how plants decide what to do [Internet]. BBC. [cited Dec 3]. Available from:

D. Chambers C, Feredoes E, D. Muthukumaraswamy S, J. Etchells P, 1 Cardiff University Brain Research Imaging Centre, School of Psychology, Cardiff University; Instead of “playing the game” it is time to change the rules: Registered Reports at AIMS Neuroscience and beyond. AIMS Neurosci. 2014;1(1):4–17.

Soderberg CK, Errington TM, Nosek BA. Credibility of preprints: an interdisciplinary survey of researchers. R Soc Open Sci. 7(10):201520.

Beck J, Ferguson CA, Funk K, Hanson B, Harrison M, Ide-Smith M, et al. Building trust in preprints: recommendations for servers and other stakeholders [Internet]. OSF Preprints; 2020 Jul [cited 2020 Nov 6]. Available from:

No comments here
Why not start the discussion?