NIH Announces Preprint Pilot

June 17, 2020

The urgency of finding a cure and vaccine for COVID-19 underscores the need for enhanced rigor and broader discovery and distribution of early research results. To this end, National Library of Medicine (NLM) has announced the NIH Preprint Pilot to increase discoverability of preprints — complete, pre-peer review public drafts of scientific documents.

Building on the March 2017 NIH Guide Notice (NOT-OD-17-050), the pilot will test the possibility (starting with preprints reporting NIH-supported COVID-19 research) of making preprints searchable in PubMed Central (PMC) and discoverable in PubMed. In order to avoid confusion, both systems will clearly indicate that preprints are not peer-reviewed journal articles. 

NLM is using the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis iSearch COVID-19 Portfolio to identify relevant preprints that are authored by NIH-funded extramural grantees and NIH staff, as outlined in the Public Access Policy. The pilot does not require a new submission process or system to add preprints to PMC.

In summer 2020, NLM will simplify how to add a preprint citation to My Bibliography. (See the NIH Preprint Pilot FAQ.) The pilot is expected to run for a minimum of 12 months, and lessons learned during that time will inform future NLM efforts with preprints. NIH plans to extend the Pilot across the spectrum of NIH research.