A Preprint is a version of a scholarly or scientific paper before it is published in a peer-reviewed scholarly or scientific journal. The Preprint is freely available, usually without any publisher formatting before a paper is published in a journal, and has not undergone peer review.   

Why Preprints?

Preprints provide the opportunity for researchers to more immediately share their work and to encourage feedback. Since the early 1990's Preprints have been shared digitally and preprint services like arXiv have emerged as a major platform for sharing research. Researchers can self-archive their preprints on these services and share them with the wider world. Preprints provide a range of advantages including:

  • Immediacy of getting your getting your work out there and seen by your peers
  • Getting a permanent home with a citable DOI 
  • Establishing priority.
  • Beating the peer review queue

Crucially, posting a Preprint does not prevent you from publishing in peer reviewed journals. This does not mean however that publishers will allow the final published version to be held on Preprint services or other repositories. What you are allowed to post very much depends on the individual journal and they each have rules about what they allow.

The Sherpa Romeo website provides a guide to publisher copyright policies & self-archiving and you can use this to check the journal policies. The Open Access team ( are happy to check any individual journals for you if the policy is not clear.

Open Access

Enlighten records can be linked to the Preprint version in services like arXiv.  Preprints are not generally held within Enlighten but please contact  if you cannot find a suitable Preprints server for your preprint.  We may be able to host your Preprint.

REF and Funder Compliance

Deposit of a Preprint in a Preprints or other repository will only satisfy REF and Funder Open Access requirements if the author confirms that the version available in the Preprints server is the author accepted manuscript.  That is the final agreed text before any publisher logo is added.

The University policy is to notify the Open Access team ( when you have a paper accepted. They will advise on options to make your paper open access and to comply with REF and funder open access requirements.

Usually the University will also require a copy of the author accepted manuscript. The Open Access team can advise in each case. If author's want to send the Open Access team a link to the author accepted manuscript e.g. in ArXiv they will download it, but only if the author confirms it is the author accepted manuscript, as often ArXiv, or other services contain earlier versions and we would like to support authors in ensuring compliance.

UKRI Policy

Medical Research Council (MRC) encourage sharing of Preprints 

Preprints can be cited in MRC funding applications if they have a Digital Object Identifier or persistent identifier.  These are usually supplied as standard when you post a Preprint to a repository.

New UKRI open access policy is due to be announced summer 2021. We will advise authors if any requirements arise for Preprints.

Wellcome Trust Policy     

Wellcome encourage sharing of post Preprints under a CC-BY licence. 

Where there is a significant health benefit posting of Preprints is required.

Wellcome policy:   

Preprints and Plagiarism

Plagiarism is defined as the submission or presentation of work in any form, which is not your own, without acknowledgement of the sources. Special cases of plagiarism can arise by a researcher using their own previous work (self-plagiarism), e.g. where a researcher uses his or her previously disseminated text, data or ideas 'as new', without indicating their prior dissemination.

For more information on plagiarism, self-plagiarism and how to avoid it, see the advice provided by the Research Integrity office: Plagiarism is also addressed in the Research Integrity training course on Moodle: you can dip in and take individual units without committing to the entire course:

Preprints Services

There are a wide range of preprints services now available including:


One of the largest and most successful preprints repositories is arXiv which was started as a physics archive August 1991. By the end of 2014 it had more than 1 million articles and receives 10,000 submissions per month. It now covers physics, mathematics, computing science and quantitative biology and finance.


bioRxiv is a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints in the life sciences.


Share early results with colleagues and respond to comments and feedback prior to peer review. Upload preprints in chemistry and related areas.

CORE (Commons Open Repository Exchange)

CORE is part of the Humanities Commons network for humanities scholars (developed in 2013). CORE is an open-access repository accepting preprint and postprints. Item types include articles, bibliographies, books, book chapters, conference publications, course materials, interviews, music, performances, photographs and podcasts.


EngrXiv was launched in June 2016 and is dedicated to the dissemination of engineering research.


LawArXiv is a free, open access nonprofit preprint repository for legal research. It was launched in 2017.


MediArXiv is a non-profit platform for media, film, and communication scholars to upload working papers, pre-prints, accepted manuscripts (post-prints), and published manuscripts. The service is open for articles, books, and book chapters.


NutriXiv is a preprint service for the nutritional research across life sciences and medicine and health sciences.


PsyArXiv is a free preprint service designed to facilitate rapid dissemination of psychological research. It is maintained by the Society for the Improvement of Psychological Science (SIPS). It was developed in 2016.


SocArxiv is an open access platform for social scientists to upload working papers, preprints, published papers, data and code. It was developed in July 2016.


SportRXiv is an open-access, community-led preprint server for research in sport and exercise (kinesiology and movement science) accepting submissions from academics working in sport; exercise; rehabilitation and therapy; as well as theatre, dance and performance.