As we have observed recently, this paper raises an interesting question for us: Essentially, do pre-print papers permit a wider and open peer review system, where anyone can review and criticise. This is more democratic than the closed shop peer-review where only 2-3 people do the review and in some instances can be gamed by sending to friendly peer reviewers (or potentially fake reviewers). We are great supporters of the potential value of open science.
COVID-19-related (vs. non-related) articles appear to be more expeditiously processed and published in peer-reviewed journals. We aimed to evaluate: (i) whether COVID-19-related preprints were favored for publication, (ii) preprinting trends and public discussion of the preprints, and (iii) the relationship between the publication topic (COVID-19-related or not) and quality issues. Manuscripts deposited at bioRxiv and medRxiv between January 1 and September 27 2020 were assessed for the probability of publishing in peer-reviewed journals, and those published were evaluated for submission-to-acceptance time. The extent of public discussion was assessed based on Altmetric and Disqus data. The Retraction Watch Database and PubMed were used to explore the retraction of COVID-19 and non-COVID-19 articles and preprints. With adjustment for the preprinting server and number of deposited versions, COVID-19-related preprints were more likely to be published within 120 days since the deposition of the first version (OR = 1.96, 95% CI: 1.80–2.14) as well as over the entire observed period (OR = 1.39, 95% CI: 1.31–1.48). Submission-to-acceptance was by 35.85 days (95% CI: 32.25–39.45) shorter for COVID-19 articles. Public discussion of preprints was modest and COVID-19 articles were overrepresented in the pool of retracted articles in 2020. Current data suggest a preference for publication of COVID-19-related preprints over the observed period.
Kodvanj, I., Homolak, J., Virag, D. Trkulja, V (2022) Publishing of COVID-19 preprints in peer-reviewed journals, preprinting trends, public discussion and quality issues. Scientometrics (2022). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11192-021-04249-7
Publisher (Open Access): https://link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s11192-021-04249-7