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Himmelfarb Headlines - September / October 2020

Preprints in PubMed and PubMed Central

Preprints in PubMed and PubMed CentralThe U.S. National Library of Medicine (NLM) recently launched a pilot making preprint articles available in PubMed and PubMed Central.  Preprints are scholarly manuscripts which are available on freely accessible web platforms prior to completing peer review.  While preprints have been around for some time, the acceleration of the dissemination of research results due to COVID-19 has greatly increased their visibility.

Because preprints have not yet completed peer review or been accepted for publication in a journal, it’s important to use the information with caution, and to read and assess each article’s hypothesis, methodology, results, and conclusions carefully.  Preprints can provide a first look at ground-breaking research, but can also provide a platform disseminating poorly-designed research and/or inaccurate research results.

During the pilot project, the NLM will include select preprint articles in both PubMed and PubMed Central.  Preprint articles from the iSearch COVID-19 Portfolio are the first group of articles to be included.  Articles in this database are related to COVID-19 and pulled from medRxiv, bioRxiv, arXiv, ChemRxiv, Research Square, and SSRN.

In PubMed, preprint articles are clearly marked on both the Summary view and the Abstract view.  On the Summary view, look for ‘preprint’ near the end of the citation information just before the PMID.

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On the Abstract view, a light green banner clearly identifies preprints.

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PubMed Central also clearly identifies preprints with a light green banner.

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Depending on the nature of your search, you may be interested in seeing preprints among your search results or may wish to exclude them from your search results.  You can add a short search phrase to your search terms to preprints or to exclude preprints from your search results:

•  In PubMed, add the following to your search strategy:
°  To find preprints add: AND preprint[pt]
°  To exclude preprints add: NOT preprint[pt]

•  In PubMed Central, add the following to your search strategy:
°  To find preprints add: AND preprint[filter]
°  To exclude preprints add: NOT preprint[filter]

Read the NIH Preprint Pilot FAQs to learn more about this project.

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