Preprint servers are websites that enable scientists to make their findings immediately available to the scientific community before they submit them to scientific journals. This speeds up research by allowing other experts in the field to begin building on the work immediately. It also allow researchers to provide their employers and funding agencies with early evidence of productivity, as well as receive feedback that helps them improve draft manuscripts. Manuscripts posted on a preprint server are not peer-reviewed, edited, or typeset before being posted online. However, all articles undergo a basic screening process for offensive and/or non-scientific content and for material that might pose a health or biosecurity risk. Authors can submit revised versions of an article at any time but each version is permanently archived on the site and cannot be removed.
Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory operates two preprint servers: bioRxiv (pronounced “bio-archive”), which focuses on basic research in the life sciences; and medRxiv (pronounced “med-archive”), which focuses on clinical research and is a partnership between Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, BMJ and Yale University. Both were inspired by arXIv (pronounced “archive”), a server heavily used by physicists and mathematicians that is hosted by Cornell University.