We started Haldane’s Sieve back in August 2012, so we’ve just passed our one year anniversary. You can read our first post on our motivations for starting the blog here. We are pretty happy about how well Haldane’s Sieve has done at promoting preprints and a preprint culture more generally in population and evolutionary genetics and genomics.
Overall we posted 430 posts, the majority of which have been abstracts of arXived papers. It’s been great to see so many people starting to experiment with preprinting their work.
We’ve also had 41 guest posts by authors blogging about their papers (see here). This has been a really nice side effect of Haldane’s Sieve; we have gotten more researchers blogging about their work. The main aim of these “our paper” posts has been to allow authors to write about their paper in a more informal setting than a paper, to reach out to other researchers for feedback and to start to publicize their papers to the population and evolutionary genetics and genomics communities.
Over the past year Haldane’s Sieve has had over 600 comments. The majority of preprints have passed without comment, which is fine by us. Not all preprints need commentary, and a reasonable fraction are likely to have little long-term impact (like many papers). However, all of the abstracts posted at Haldane’s Sieve have been visited multiple times (the top ones hundreds of times), and the majority have been tweeted on twitter. Thus all of the preprints have received attention, and have likely had many more sets of eyes viewing them earlier than if they’d never been preprinted.
Some of the preprints get significant amounts of attention, comments, and feedback (both online and offline), which is really heartening to see. We think that many papers have been improved thanks to appearing on the arXiv and at Haldane’s Sieve. Thanks to everyone for their comments. It would be great to have more, remember they do not have to be substantial and could be as simple as asking for clarification on a figure legend. We try to make sure that the authors of preprints get notified about comments, however minor. Every comment helps improve preprints, to encourage others to preprint their papers, and a culture of preprint comments more generally.
Encouragingly, during the past year Genetics, Genome Research, and MBE have all changed their preprint policies to allow the submission of previously preprinted articles (see here). It is great to see preprints are starting to gain more acceptance in evolutionary genetics and genomics.
Here’s hoping for another good year, and we are thinking about extending Haldane’s Sieve in a few different ways over the coming year.