bioRxiv: The Preprint Server for Biology


Science reports the creation of a new preprint server called bioRxiv whose goal is to be the biologists’ counterpart to the physicists’ arXiv. From the Science article:

. . . . BioRxiv, launched yesterday by the nonprofit Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL), aims to be biologists’ version of arXiv, the popular preprint server where physicists have shared their draft manuscripts for more than 20 years. The goal is to speed the dissemination of research and give scientists a way to get feedback on their papers before they are formally peer-reviewed, says John Inglis, CSHL Press executive director. “There is a growing desire in the community for this kind of service,” Inglis says.

It will be free to submit a paper or to read it in bioRxiv, Inglis says. CSHL is paying the costs of the service (he declines to specify them) but hopes that, like arXiv, it will ultimately attract contributions. Although anybody can submit a paper, not everything will be posted: A group of more than 40 “affiliate” scientists have agreed to screen submissions to “assure us that this is real science,” Inglis says. “We certainly don’t want the enterprise to be sunk by publishing a load of crap.”

Another limitation is that bioRxiv is for life sciences, not medicine, so it will not publish clinical trials or other research that is “medically relevant,” Inglis says. Human genetic data could be posted, however. . . .