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What is a preprint?

In general, a preprint is an author's own original or draft version of their paper before any peer review has taken place and before they publish it - sometimes in a peer-reviewed journal. 

Adding your preprints gives you a great opportunity to start gaining visibility for your work early on and lets you get valuable feedback from your peers. 

Many preprints are available, usually in the form of a .doc file with minimal formatting, before the published version is available. The published version is usually the final, formatted work that you find on a publisher's website. This is the version that most library databases link to. 

What types of research usually have preprint versions?

Articles and book chapters are the most common types, but authors sometimes also add preprints of conference papers and posters before they publish them in conference proceedings. 

Why should I consider adding my preprints to ResearchGate?

Adding preprints is a great way to get your work out early. Here's why you should consider adding them:

  • Your peers will have early access to your work and can give you feedback before you publish
  • You start building an audience for your work as soon as you finish it (instead of waiting months or even years for it to be published)
  • You can get a free Digital Object Identifier (DOI) for your preprint that shows exactly when your work first appeared – this will make sure you get the credit you deserve, and make it easy for others to find and cite your work  
  • You can link your preprint to the final version's page, giving you an audience for your final work 
  • You can connect with other researchers working in the same area  

You can also visit our blog to see why you should consider sharing your preprints with other researchers:

Am I allowed to share my preprints on ResearchGate? 

Some publishers let authors share copies of their preprints without restrictions, while others allow it, but with limitations. Because publishers and journals differ on what they allow, you should always check your licensing agreement or publisher conditions before you share any of your work. Also, if you’re planning to publish in a journal, check the publisher’s policies to confirm they’ll accept your draft after it’s already been made publicly available. Check out our Copyright section for more information on how and where you can share your work. 

Please note: Publishers that allow sharing of preprints usually require that they aren't formatted to make them appear like the final version of your work. 

How can reading preprints help me with my work?

A preprint is the author's earliest version of their publication, giving you access to brand new research. In most cases, preprints are added to ResearchGate within days of the author finishing their paper. Here's why you should read preprints:

  • Keep up with brand new research and decide on the future direction of your own work 
  • Give feedback on early work before it's published (and identify yourself as an expert)
  • You can connect with your readers - the people most likely to work in the same area as you.

How do I add a preprint to my profile?

  1. Go to your Profile
  2. Click Add new in the top right-hand corner of the page
  3. Select Preprint
  4. Add details about your preprint and choose whether to add a public or private file
  5. Once you're done, your preprint is available from your profile. 

Note: You must always make sure you have the right to upload any content to ResearchGate before doing so. For more information see our Copyright section.

How do I link my preprint to the publication page for the final version?

As soon as you publish your work, you can link your preprint to the final work's publication page. Here's how:

  1. Go to the Research tab on your profile
  2. On the left, select Preprints and locate your publication
  3. Click Add published version under the preprint title
  4. Select the published work you want to link to if it's already on ResearchGate, or create a new publication if it's not
  5. Click Add published version
  6. Your published work's page is now linked and accessible directly from your preprint.