(1 June 2016) John Sack writes in the HighWire blog that Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s bioRxiv preprint server hit a milestone these last few days with the posting of a preprint on the link between cell phone radiation and tumors in rats. CSHL and HighWire – who hosts the bioRxiv manuscript system and preprint server for CSHL – watched the traffic and commentary on the paper climb. In under 24 hours, the paper had ‘scored’ in the top 500 of over 5 million articles in terms of social media. In two days it had over 50,000 PDF downloads; and four days after posting it at about 90,000 downloads and in the top 215. And this happened on a traditionally “slow news period” of a US and UK holiday. What did this accomplish?
Sack believes this is a watershed event that raises industry awareness that preprints are now in the workflows of authors, and that a preprint can create as large a wave of recognition and access as a journal publication can (no matter what your opinion of the science is).
Sack’s article, which argues that preprints are the next leg of digital transformation of scholarly communication is here.