Frequently Asked Questions
What is a preprint?
Preprints are defined as an author’s version of a research manuscript prior to formal peer review at a journal, which they deposit on a public server (as this article, “Preprints for the life sciences”, Science 352, 899-901; 2016, describes).
For more information about Springer Nature’s policies on preprint sharing please see here.
Many journals and publishers support sharing of preprints and do not consider preprints to be prior publication. You can find more information about journals’ policies on this Wikipedia page.
What is In Review?
In Review is a free preprint service from Research Square (of which Springer Nature is an investor) developed in partnership with Springer Nature (since October 2018) providing journal-integrated preprint sharing (for direct submissions of primary research manuscripts) and transparency into the peer review process for authors. By depositing a citable preprint on the Research Square platform, In Review allows authors to benefit from early sharing , including potential earlier citations, visibility and collaboration opportunities. Authors can demonstrate research progress to funders and others, and engage the wider community for comment and collaboration all while their manuscript is being reviewed. The wider research community will be able to discover new research with fully indexed search, comment on and help improve emerging science and gain insight into work currently under review at participating journals.
At BMC and Springer open access journals, In Review provides a public peer review timeline and supports public release of peer reviewed versions. For more information about what authors can expect if they opt-in at BMC and Springer open access journals, see here.
In Review at Nature journals provides journal-integrated preprint sharing on the Research Square preprint platform; for more information about In Review at Nature journals, see here (https://www.nature.com/nature-research/for-authors/in-review.)
You can find the complete list of journals with In Review available here. We are constantly adding more journals so check back often.
What are the benefits of In Review to authors and the wider community?
Through In Review we aim to support early sharing of research through preprints for every Springer Nature author, to encourage community engagement and feedback and to give added visibility to potentially significant science that is being considered for publication. The wider research community will be able to discover new research with fully indexed search, comment on and help improve emerging science and gain insight into work currently under review at participating journals.
Authors are also able to track peer review progress on their preprint under review through an author dashboard.
What do I need to know about opting in to In Review?
- You must ensure that your co-authors agree to post a preprint and participate in In Review
- Whether you opt into In Review or not will have no effect on the editorial decisions and whether your manuscript is accepted.
- Your manuscript will also be posted after undergoing a set of quality control checks as a preprint to In Review; and will receive a DOI; it will now become a public and permanent part of the scholarly record. The community will be able to comment on, read, or cite your preprint.
- The peer review process including all editorial communications will continue through the peer review submission and manuscript tracking system.
- All queries about your manuscript’s peer review process should be directed to the journal.You will receive real time updates on the progress of your manuscript through a private peer review timeline in the Author Dashboard feature of In Review (eg, number of reviewers invited, reviewers agreed, receipt of reports).
- If your manuscript is published, the preprint will be updated with a link to the published version.
- If your manuscript is rejected, all information corresponding to journal and peer review status is removed from the preprint (see more information below).
- If your manuscript is rejected and transferred to another Springer Nature journal, opting into In Review is not currently available for transferred manuscripts.
- Springer Nature does not have a formal policy of incorporating comments received on preprints into a journal-mediated review process. Editors may, at their discretion, choose to take commenting through the Research Square platform into consideration. As with traditional peer review, they will rely on reviewers with field expertise in forming their decision.
How are preprints screened before being posted through the In Review service?
All preprints that are posted through In Review undergo a set of quality control checks. These checks include affirming the presence of the following disclosures, where relevant. Authors should include the disclosures described below in their manuscript if they intend to opt-into In Review.
- Ethics approval for studies with human participants (consent to participate, and consent to publish)
- Ethics approval for animal studies
- Competing interest statements
In addition to these checks, our partner Research Square screens all preprints for pseudoscientific claims, biosecurity/dual use risk, unethical research practice, or other potential risks to human health, personal identifiers.
What will happen to my preprint on Research Square if my manuscript is rejected from the journal I submitted to?
If your article is rejected, all information corresponding to the journal and the peer review process (including journal name, public peer review timeline) will be removed from the preprint, leaving only the original preprint and if applicable, any peer reviewed versions that have been released during a journal peer review process.
Many journal policies require declaration of posted preprints upon submission; you are free to send the link or share the DOI to the Research Square preprint of your manuscript to other journals as part of a future submission.
Is it possible to make peer reviewed versions of the article available through In Review?
For open access journals, when authors have submitted a revision at the journal, they can ask Research Square to post this as the latest version of their preprint.
What license is applied to the preprint and who holds copyright?
Authors retain full copyright for their work. Preprints posted on the Research Square platform via In Review receive a CC-BY 4.0 license which means that readers can reuse with appropriate attribution. More information about CC licenses can be found in these resource documents developed by an ASAPbio licensing taskforce.
Can I ask for my In Review preprint to be removed from the Research Square platform?
No, preprints cannot be removed. By opting in to In Review an author agrees to their article being posted permanently and publicly as a preprint on the Research Square platform after submission. Information about Research Square policies can be found here.
Can I participate in In Review if I have already posted to a preprint server?
Yes, you may participate if you have already posted to a preprint server. You should however be aware that having more than one version in different servers will fragment the usage counts and metrics provided on In Review and on other sites. It may also cause confusion for some readers about which version to use and cite.
How can I cite a preprint on the Research Square platform?
You may cite your preprint (or another researchers’ preprint), in a Springer Nature journal using the citation format specified in the Springer Nature’s preprint policy; see here for details. Once the preprint has been published in a journal, you may use the journal details in the citation.
For specific information about citing preprints posted on the Research Square platform, see Research Square policies here.
Can I discuss an In Review preprint with the media?
Per Springer Nature’s preprint policy, authors may provide clarification and context in response to inquiries from the media about their preprints, whether posted via In Review on the Research Square platform or on another platform. We advise authors to emphasize in these communications that the study has not been peer reviewed, and that the findings are provisional and could change. We also recommend that reporters indicate that the study is a preprint that has not been peer reviewed.
Are there any drawbacks to participating in In Review?
While we encourage deposition of preprints, please note that it may not be possible for us to undertake media promotion of your work at publication as it may not be possible for us to apply an embargo to your article. Further information on our pre-publicity policy is available here. This may also affect your institution’s press office.