Journal policy change: MBE will consider preprints

Molecular biology and evolution (MBE) has updated its policy to allow the submission of papers previously submitted to the arXiv:

All manuscripts published in arXiv are considered unpublished works. Manuscripts that appear on arXiv may be submitted to MBE for consideration for publication.

It is unclear whether these policies extend to other preprint sites, but presumably it may well do. It is great to see this policy change, and well done to Melissa Wilson Sayres, Antonio Marco [@amarcobio], and others for encouraging MBE to affect this change.

However, one less encouraging feature of this change is that MBE has also implemented a policy where preprint papers have to be cited as unpublished data in the text rather than as a citation appearing in the reference section. It is yet unclear how citation search engines, such as Google scholar, will interact with this form of reference. Will they register, and count, them as citations or go unnoticed?

One of the many appealing features of preprints is that they allow papers to being to be acknowledged and cited earlier. It is unclear why MBE feels that this policy is necessary, but in our view it seems counter-productive. Hopefully, this is something that can be changed, given time, and encouragement from MBE’s community.


Mandated data archiving greatly improves access to research data

Mandated data archiving greatly improves access to research data
Timothy H. Vines, Rose L. Andrew, Dan G. Bock, Michelle T. Franklin, Kimberly J. Gilbert, Nolan C. Kane, Jean-S├ębastien Moore, Brook T. Moyers, S├ębastien Renaut, Diana J. Rennison, Thor Veen, Sam Yeaman
(Submitted on 16 Jan 2013)

The data underlying scientific papers should be accessible to researchers both now and in the future, but how best can we ensure that these data are available? Here we examine the effectiveness of four approaches to data archiving: no stated archiving policy, recommending (but not requiring) archiving, and two versions of mandating data deposition at acceptance. We control for differences between data types by trying to obtain data from papers that use a single, widespread population genetic analysis, STRUCTURE. At one extreme, we found that mandated data archiving policies that require the inclusion of a data availability statement in the manuscript improve the odds of finding the data online almost a thousand-fold compared to having no policy. However, archiving rates at journals with less stringent policies were only very slightly higher than those with no policy at all. We also assessed the effectiveness of asking for data directly from authors and obtained over half of the requested datasets, albeit with about 8 days delay and some disagreement with authors. Given the long term benefits of data accessibility to the academic community, we believe that journal based mandatory data archiving policies and mandatory data availability statements should be more widely adopted.

Journal policy change: Genome Research will consider preprints

We have been alerted to a change in the Genome Research author guidelines, which now read:

The journal only accepts papers that present original research that has not been published previously. Conference presentations or posting unrefereed manuscripts on not-for-profit community preprint servers will not be considered prior publication. Authors are responsible for updating the archived preprint with the journal reference (including DOI), and a link to the published article on the Genome Research website upon publication. [emphasis added]

We look forward to discussing preprints targeted for Genome Research at Haldane’s Sieve.

Announcement: Genetics prepublication policy

This guest post is by Chuck Langley on the policy of Genetics on preprint servers.

The journal GENETICS promulgates a formal new policy on prepublication.

Population genetics continues to be a prized element of the editorial purview of GENETICS. Creating value for and servicing this critical constituency is a high and ongoing goal of the editorial board and staff. The increasing use of preprint archives by our community and the perceived value of early, unfettered communication to the advancement of research prompted the GENETICS editors to adopt a policy that enables authors to submit drafts of manuscripts to preprint archives (such as arXiv) before or during the period that the manuscript is under review at GENETICS. In line with the journal’s role in scientific publishing, GENETICS asks two things of the authors: 1) the accepted version of a manuscript should not be submitted to an archive; GENETICS has an efficient “early access” mechanism via its website that makes the manuscript freely accessible within 2 weeks of its acceptance; 2) upon final publication in GENETICS, authors should insert a journal reference (including DOI), and link to the published article on the GENETICS website, and include the acknowledgment: “The published article is available at” For help with these simple updates to submissions, see here for details. Questions and comments on this and other journal policies can be directed to the Editor in Chief (Mark Johnston), the Executive Editor (Tracey DePellegrin Connelly) or any other member of the Editorial Board. Please submit your best work for publication in GENETICS, the peer-edited journal of the Genetics Society of America.

C.H. Langley

Journal policy change: ESA journals will consider preprints

Scott Collins, the president of the Ecological Society of America, announced today on Twitter that all ESA journals will now consider papers for publication that have previously been posted on preprint servers like arXiv. We look forward to discussing preprints headed to ESA journals here on Haldane’s Sieve.

[Update] See also here.