PrePrint Review

Scientists and students at The Sainsbury Laboratory are joining the community-driven effort to bring expert review and curation to preprints, demonstrating a more inclusive model for a more open and efficient future in research communication.

Why review preprints?

Preprints address some of the long-standing issues in the traditional science publishing system by allowing authors to share their findings publicly as soon as they are ready and being less dependent on journal requirements and status.

However, peer review is a core function of scientific integrity and progress. The lack of review systems around preprints mean readers cannot easily assess the quality of new findings.

A number of organisations and initiatives have recognised this as a great opportunity for the future of research communication – bringing expert peer review and curation to the preprint literature.

PREreview and ASAPbio–SciELO Preprints crowd review, for example, are taking advantage of the open nature of preprints to enable researchers from groups traditionally underrepresented in science to participate in public review

Damian Pattinson and Emily Packer from eLife expand more on this subject: Why preprint review is the way forward

What is TSL doing about preprint reviews?

TSL students and scientists have started hosting PrePrint Pizza Parties as an opportunity for PhD students, M.Sc. Students and PreDocs to mingle and learn from Postdocs in a relaxed environment.

The TSL Preprint Club members discuss novel science in a low-pressure setting and develop critical thinking and reviewing skills. It’s also an activity that brings the community together, while promoting open science outside of TSL through our twitter threads and publicly shared reviews.

Any lab can start a Preprint Club, and we encourage you to do so!

Andres Posbeyikian, PhD student and initiative lead, shares more about the process:

It starts with a student or postdoc who takes charge of the event and invites the TSL community. We usually take turns between a student and a postdoc to organize these events. An initial call for preprints is made, where the participants are requested to put forward a preprint that caught their attention or adds value to their work. Usually, we receive preprint options closely related to TSL areas of expertise, such as plant pathology, NLR biology, evolution and biochemistry, effectoromics, and molecular plant-microbe interactions (MPMI) .

A pool of preprint choices is assembled and shared with the participants so they can inform their first, second and third preference for review on the day of the event. With this information we assemble groups of up to 5 people. On the day of the Preprint Pizza Party, we order the pizza and set up tables at our local Recreation Centre. Each group typically will spend an hour discussing the document figure by figure, while a designated group member will take notes. After this, a pause is made for pizza and chatting, and then another hour is dedicated to working on the review. After the event, the group members usually organize an online shared document where they polish their notes and structure them for online publishing through the BioRxiv comment section, and more recently through

The PREreview platform aims to provide open source infrastructure to enable constructive feedback to preprints.

If you're interested in starting a PrePrint club at your own institution, the PREreview website provides a wealth of resources and training to get you started.

You can register your own PREreview Club on their website. These are collaborative preprint reviewing groups around a shared affiliation, affinity, interest, location, or any other common cause. Club members work together to give preprint authors timely, constructive peer feedback.