Advice regarding communication about preprint articles

It has become increasingly common for researchers to publish an early version of their scientific articles on a so-called preprint server or archive, without the study having undergone peer review. On this page, researchers will find some tips and advice on how to communicate about preprint articles.

From a scientific perspective, it can be of great value to quickly share new findings with other researchers in your field. It is also your democratic right as a researcher to share your expert knowledge with others whenever you like.

However, rapid publication without peer review can also pose some communication challenges. This is an important reason why the Communications and Public Relations Office at KI avoids distributing news releases about preprint articles.

Things to consider before publishing your article on a preprint server

  • If your study is picked up by the media and reaches a broad audience already at the preprint stage, you will have less chance of receiving media attention at a later stage when the study is published in a scientific journal.
  • The moment your article appears online, it can be disseminated and shared to an external party and subject to critical scrutiny in, for example, social media.
  • Journalists, decision makers and the general public look for information on preprint servers too.
  • Your preprint article can get particularly widespread if you choose to share it on social media.
  • You may need to set aside time to deal with reactions that your article generates at this early stage in the publishing process.
  • Prepare yourself by thinking through what questions may come up. 
  • Write a short popular summary that you can send to journalists if they get in touch. Often, journalists also want a high-resolution portrait image of spokespersons with free copyright.
  • Read more on the page advice for media contacts and interviews.

When your article is published on a preprint server

  • If your article is available for anyone to read online, you should be ready to answer journalists' questions about your research.
  • This usually also applies if you submit your preprint manuscript to a scientific journal for publication. To make sure that you don’t break the embargo, consult the editor of the journal and/or the KI press office.
  • If you are interviewed, take the opportunity to explain what it means that the article is published on a preprint server. As far as possible, ensure that this information is included in the journalistic product. 
  • Always assume that the recipient of the information doesn’t know about of the scientific publication process.
  • If possible, use wordings like "preliminary research results" and "a not yet peer-reviewed study".
  • Be extra generous with information regarding, for example, uncertainties and limitations and need for additional experiments/data collection.
  • Make sure that the press office has your contact details if you notice that journalists are starting to show an interest.

Facts about preprints

Scientific articles in the medical field usually undergo expert review by other researchers before they are published, so-called peer review. This process can take a relatively long time and include requirements for new experiments or reinterpretation of existing results. To rapidly reach colleagues in the field with their research results, researchers sometimes choose to publish an early version of the article in an open manuscript archive — a preprint server. Many researchers simultaneously submit the same manuscript to a scientific journal for regular peer review prior to publication.

Information from the University Library on preprints.

Contact

The press office

Phone: +46(0)8-524 860 77 | Email: pressinfo@ki.se

Opening hours: The press phone is staffed 09:00–20:00 on weekdays and 09:00–17:00 on weekends. The press office is closed during major holidays, such as Christmas, Easter and Midsummer, and opening hours may be limited during the Swedish summer vacation period.