Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s biology preprint server bioRxiv has garnered much attention in the academic community in the five years since it began accepting manuscripts. Now, bioinformatics scholars Richard Abdill and Ran Blekhman from the University of Minnesota have conducted research on bioRxiv itself.
According to their study, paper downloads from the pioneering preprint server have increased at a remarkable rate since the server’s launch. In October 2018 alone, users downloaded papers over one million times, an 82 percent increase over the number from October 2017. In the first 11 months of 2018, an average of 1,711 preprints a month were posted. Among the 37,648 total preprint articles posted to the server, neuroscience and bioinformatics articles have been the most frequently posted and downloaded. The researchers also found that preprint papers with the most downloads from bioRxiv tended to be selected for publication by journals with relatively high impact factors.
bioRxiv launched in 2013, with the goal of enabling research scientists to share the results of their work for free, before peer review and journal publication. The intent was to benefit the field of biology as a whole by allowing researchers to make findings available to other scientists as quickly as possible. It is clear from this recent study that the preprint server is doing just that.