NLM is preparing to launch a pilot project to test the viability of making preprints resulting from NIH-funded research available via PubMed Central (PMC). The primary goal of the NIH Preprint Pilot will be to explore approaches to increasing the discoverability of early NIH research results. The pilot will begin the week of June 8, 2020 and will run for a minimum of 12 months. Lessons learned during that time will inform future NLM efforts with preprints.
In its role as the repository for peer-reviewed manuscripts supported by NIH, PMC already makes available more than one million published papers resulting from NIH-supported research. Building on NIH guidance (NOT-OD-17-050) to investigators that encouraged the use of interim research products, such as preprints, to speed the dissemination and enhance the rigor of their work, NLM hopes this pilot will inform possible future steps to further accelerate discovery and access of papers that are developed with NIH funds and encourage the open and fast dissemination of NIH research results, when appropriate.
The pilot will initially focus on increasing the discoverability of preprints with NIH support relating to the current COVID-19 pandemic. NLM is leveraging the iSearch COVID-19 portfolio tool developed by the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis to identify preprints reporting on COVID-19 research supported by the NIH intramural or extramural programs. This narrowly scoped first phase should allow NLM an opportunity to streamline workflows and refine the details of implementation with a set of articles for which there is a growing demand for accelerated access.
As curation and ingest workflows become scalable, NLM will expand the pilot to include preprints resulting from the broader spectrum of NIH research. Further, to enable NIH investigators to more easily report preprints as products of award, NLM will simplify the process for adding preprint citations to My Bibliography this summer.
NLM expects to engage with preprint servers throughout the pilot that include a significant volume of preprints with NIH support and meet the general expectations laid out in the 2017 NIH Guidance for selecting interim research product repositories.