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bioRxiv Explained: Tracy Capaldi-Drewett talks to John R. Inglis. Executive Director of Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

Author info: HighWire Press
Post date: 21.07.2016
Post type: News


1.          What is bioRxiv?  

bioRxiv is Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory’s not-for-profit preprint service.  A preprint is a complete but unpublished manuscript yet to be certified by peer review. bioRxiv makes preprints in biomedicine freely and immediately available online, with DOIs that make them citable and discoverable. 

2.         What’s the demand for a service of this kind?

By posting a preprint, an author shares results immediately, so the community can assess the work and react, often long before it’s published in final form by a journal. ‘React’ may include giving valued feedback to the author on improving the manuscript. bioRxiv therefore, fulfills a demand to speed up the sharing of new scientific results and may improve the published work.

3.         Who is it for?

bioRxiv is for preprints in all aspects of biological research, clinical trials, and epidemiology.

4.         How does it work?

An author submits a manuscript in a peer review system, puts it in a subject category, and flags its results as new, confirmatory, or contradictory.  After screening to ensure that it’s a research paper, the manuscript is submitted automatically to HighWire’s content ingestions system. There it is given a date-stamp and DOI and posted to, usually within receipt. The abstract is displayed in HTML and the full manuscript is downloadable as a pdf. Manuscripts are listed by date of receipt and are freely accessible. Revised versions are uploadable at any time and all versions are preserved on the site. Usage metrics, altmetrics, and social media mentions are displayed for each manuscript. There are tools for sharing posted manuscripts and creating email alerts and RSS feeds of manuscripts by subject category. 

5.         How does bioRxiv connect with journals?

In two ways: 1) Some journals offer authors the opportunity to post their manuscript to bioRxiv at the same time they submit it; and 2) other journals, about 40 of them currently, accept the direct transfer of bioRxiv manuscripts through simplified methods we have worked out with several submission systems. These transfers accord with our vision of bioRxiv as a hub in scientific communication.

6.         How was it built?

The technology and seamless integration between BenchPress (HighWire’s peer review system), HighWire’s open platform (content ingestion and distribution), and JCore (HighWire’s hosting platform), enabled CSHL to launch the preprint server very quickly and reliably.

HighWire’s peer review submission system, BenchPress, is used to submit and do a quick review of content - it is also used for any resubmissions. Once approved, content is directly published to the web on bioRxiv site, built on HighWire’s world class hosting platform, JCore. The seamless integration between BenchPress and JCore enabled the reliability, speed, and scalability to handle any volume of content.

The bioRxiv site’s on JCore is built with a clean, open interface that enables readers to navigate rapidly to the abstract and information tabs, and download the pdf with a single click. JCore platform is key to preprint servers as it provides near 100% uptime and outstanding performance for high volume sites such as bioRxiv, as well as providing scalability for unplanned peaks of high traffic. 

7.         What are the benefits for the audiences?

New work is becoming available to the community for assessment often months’ in advance of formal publication. Readers can immediately see the latest results in their field and take part in a community-wide conversation about them, either directly on the site or through social media. Authors also report getting a great deal of direct feedback through email or in person. 

To find out more contact: [email protected]

To find out more about HighWire’s Pre-print offering, contact: [email protected]

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