Frequently Asked Questions

Do we run into any challenges with publishers if SportRχiv assigns a DOI before a publisher that accepts a paper?

  • In terms of creating two DOIs, publishers have no issue with this and there is no legal issue.
  • A preprint is an ‘author version’ of the document and you almost always retain the rights to pre- and post print versions when publishing research. It is this author version that is assigned a DOI and then the published version is then assigned another.
  • Cleverly, the major search engines have now written an algorithm to avoid any confusion by pairing the versions, which means that shared pre-/post prints link to the typeset publisher version and both versions count towards your h-index

Do I lose copyright privileges when I submit a document to the archive?

  • No. Upon submission to SportRχiv you are required to state how you wish to license the work. This allows you to retain copyright and state how others may copy, distribute, and make use of your data. If you do not see the license you want to use, you can upload your own license.

  • If you are unsure what license to apply to your work, there is lots of good information online. For example, the website http://choosealicense.com/ provides an interactive license picker.

If I post a preprint on the archive and then publish it in a journal or volume, can I leave the preprint on the archive?

  • In the vast majority of cases the answer is yes. We would recommend that you check the journal’s policy on preprinting before submission though.
  • If you can’t find the policy details, check our interactive journal policy list or get in touch.

Won’t submitting a preprint be perceived by others in the scientific community as an attempt to bypass blind review and/or disseminate work before it has been vetted by the scientific community?

  • Submitting a preprint is most definitely not an attempt to bypass the peer review system.
  • By definition it is a ‘pre’ publication print and it is a requirement on SportRχiv that this be stated on the opening page. In terms of disseminating research before it has been through peer review, there are two sides to this argument. Some would argue that the speedy dissemination of research to thousands of potential reviewers is a good thing. Others think that waiting often upwards of six months for two people to read and comment on a manuscript is fine.
  • Ultimately, if you believe in the value of peer review, you should not present a preprint as having gone through the process. However, these concerns are not limited to preprinting. Individuals have been sharing unpublished work or conference presentations with the media for as long as there has been media interest. It is not the medium by which work is communicated that is the problem here.

Won’t it look bad if I have to change a manuscript substantially after peer review?

  • No. It’s very common to have to make substantial changes to a manuscript based on the feedback provided in peer review.
  • Part of the preprint process is about receiving feedback to improve the quality of the work and a change in direction would be perfectly normal. Of the 2 million preprints already submitted to BioRxiv and the like, we suspect (and hope!) that a large portion of those will have changed substantially as a result of making the work freely available for comment.
  • It is far better to catch an error in a working document than once it is published.

By sharing work before it is peer reviewed, we run the risk of distributing work before it is vetted and errors are corrected, don’t we?

  • We appreciate that peer review has historically been viewed as proof of scientific vetting, but with redactions on the rise, we have seen first hand that peer review is not a very good approach to vetting work for errors.
  • Also, if the goal is error detection, having many pairs of eyes examine a working version of the document is far more likely to catch a mistake than two peer reviewers. Plus, finding an error in a working document is much easier to correct.

Science should be accessible only after it has been peer reviewed, shouldn’t it? Peer reviewers, as gatekeepers of science, limit the thicket of information/documents scientists produce. Without them, won’t we become over run with bad science?

  • It arguably could, but the evidence suggests that it doesn’t. As previously mentioned, the likes of ArXiv have been sharing preprints for decades and by and large, the work shared is simply an open access version of an prepublication draft.
  • We use a pre-publication moderation system to check that manuscripts accepted in the SportRχiv meet basic scientific standards. From there, the scientific community can review and comment on the work in an open and transparent manner.
  • Publishing low quality work in any form and in any outlet may have a detrimental impact on an author’s reputation. As such, it is unlikely that the quality of work shared within SportRχiv will be any lower than that published in the literature.

Despite the very good intentions of the SportRχiv initiative, there will be researchers that view it skeptically and as a mechanism to “publish” half-baked work or corrupt the traditional review process.

  • Preprints are not published and won’t count towards any institutional targets. They will, however, demonstrate effort, which I think should be valued.
  • Preprints are not designed to circumvent peer review, but rather get feedback earlier on in the process and make the work publicly available. Having many eyes on a working document is more likely to catch an error than limiting it to one or two reviewers.
  • Scholars would undoubtedly prefer to openly share the published version of their work, but publishers are not going to allow this. It is crazy that we give our work away to for-profit publishing houses, organise and review the work for them for free too, and then pay to buy it back back. If the general public knew about this, they’d seriously start questioning whether we are as intelligent as we claim!
  • Schools/funders should not have to pay thousands of pounds/dollars to license work they have previously funded and given away. The system is cubersome and SportRχiv simply provides part of a solution to a alleviate this burden. That said, it is the best option we have at present and will be around until institutions take back control of the publishing industry.

Will posting on the archive affect subsequent attempts to publish in a journal?

  • It shouldn’t, however, as a relatively new service it is hard to say conclusively. All of the major publishers permit the sharing of preprints to services such as ours.
  • Although new to sport and exercise, preprints have been routinely shared for decades in other fields. As such, we would expect sport and exercise journal editors to be supportive of submissions that have been shared on SportRχiv.
  • Some researchers are even going as far as to mention their preprints within covering letters to editors.

Is this service a replacement for journals?

  • No. SportRχiv is not intended to replace peer reviewed journals.
  • A preprint service is primarily intended to offer access to manuscripts before publication, solicit feedback, and ensure the research remains Open Access even after publication.
  • Formal peer review remains an integral part of science, and all submissions submitted to SportRχiv should undertake this process.

How should I cite articles on the archive?

  • To cite a preprint uploaded to SportRχiv, you should provide the author’s full name and year, followed by the preprint’s title, the preprint server name, and the persistent URL.

Won’t someone steal my work if I share a preprint before it’s accepted for publication?

  • Posting a preprint can actually prevent scooping. Because preprints are time-stamped upon creation, you’ve established the precedence of your work by posting a preprint before submitting for peer review.
  • If someone is prepared to steal from a time-stamped/DOI’d preprint, they would likely do the same from any form of published or unpublished work.
  • As plagerising any content results in serious reputational harm, it very rarely occurs.

May I remove a preprint once it is posted?

  • The preprint file cannot be deleted, but it can be updated or modified. We would prefer the authors upload a new document, or version of the manucript that states the authors no longer stand by original contents. If necessary, the preprint can be withdrawn by the administrators of this server. This is only done under extreme circumstances.

Should I share my preprint on social media?

  • Of course! Just be clear that the manuscript is a working document that is yet to undertake peer review. This is a great way to get early feedback on your work from the public.

Can I share post-prints on SportRχiv?

  • If the journal policy permits, we are happy to accept accepted manuscripts. Author accepted versions are often permitted, but ‘final’ typeset versions rarely are. If you’re in any doubt, get in touch.