A preprint is a version of a scientific manuscript posted to a public server prior to peer review or formal publication in a scholarly journal. PLOS empowers authors to post preprints as a way to accelerate the dissemination of their research.
Authors are strongly encouraged to share their research on a preprint server and to provide links to their preprint during submission, and editors are advised to use comments posted on preprints and preprint reviews where applicable. Additionally, preprints on bioRxiv and medRxiv can be directly transferred to a relevant PLOS journal for a streamlined submission process.
PLOS makes the interaction between preprint servers and our journals as easy as possible, and we link our publications to the relevant preprint for authors.
There are many active preprint servers; see the Directory of Open Access Preprint Repositories for a list. Some servers accept preprints from any research area but many are specific to geographical regions or research disciplines.
PLOS partners with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory to make posting preprints in the life sciences seamless and convenient.
Authors posting preprints to bioRxiv or medRxiv can choose to concurrently submit their manuscripts to PLOS Water or another relevant PLOS journal through the direct transfer service. Learn more about posting a preprint and the direct transfer service.
Authors submitting manuscripts to PLOS Water may opt-in to have PLOS forward their submission to EarthArXiv for consideration for posting as a preprint.
Papers that pass an initial screening for suitability will be posted on EarthArXiv as a preprint, meaning that the manuscript files will be made publicly available and credited to the listed authors. If the article is later accepted for publication in PLOS Water, the preprint and published article will link to each other when the article appears online.
Preparing preprint files for submission
Preprints appear on EarthArXiv in PDF format. Authors can choose to supply their own preprint PDF or have PLOS Water compile an automatically generated PDF.
- If you supply a preprint PDF it will appear on EarthArXiv unchanged. Be sure to include title, authors, abstract, and the full text of the manuscript, along with any figures or tables and their captions. EarthArXiv limits PDF file size to 40 MB or less. PDF files must be compressed to meet this requirement.
- Alternatively, PLOS Water can automatically compile a preprint PDF suitable for EarthArXiv from the manuscript file and figure files that are part of your journal submission. Supplementary information will not be included in auto-generated preprints, but may be linked from EarthArXiv after posting.
After authors have opted in to have their preprint posted by PLOS Water, it is transferred to EarthArXiv where researchers with relevant expertise screen preprint submissions for suitability. More information on the screening process can be found on the EarthArXiv site.
Most submissions that pass EarthArXiv’s preprint checks will be posted within one week of submission. Authors will receive a notification of successful preprint posting directly from EarthArXiv. Once posted, a preprint cannot be removed from EarthArXiv except in rare cases.
EarthArXiv will communicate with authors directly if issues arise or screening indicates that a manuscript is not eligible for posting.
Updates to preprints
To ensure that readers are always accessing the latest version of the manuscript, authors are encouraged to submit updates and revisions to the relevant preprint server directly.
If a concern arises about a published PLOS article with a related preprint, PLOS will evaluate the concern according to our standard editorial processes, taking into account any relevant comments available on the preprint.