The use of preprints (pre-peer reviewed versions of scholarly papers) has accelerated in the last few years with many researchers now sharing their latest work with the scientific community before or in parallel to publication with a journal. After a slower start compared to other research fields, adoption of preprints in the plant sciences and agriculture is growing well.

As part of this growing trend, CABI relaunched agriRxiv (pronounced agri-archive and previously known as AgriXiv) in 2020 as a platform for posting preprints. agriRxiv makes preprints across agriculture and allied sciences available to researchers and gives those who wish to share their papers online an opportunity to gain valuable feedback before submitting a final version to a journal and formal peer-review.

No. 1: Get early feedback and visibility

This brings us to one of the main reasons why researchers working in agriculture and plant sciences post preprints: they gain early feedback to their research and can, therefore, make valuable edits and changes to their paper before submitting to a journal for peer review.

Platforms like agriRxiv provide an early forum for discussion and allow authors to get informal feedback on their article prior to submitting an improved version to a journal for peer review.

Preprints also allow researchers to share their results rapidly and gain increased visibility. In just a few days, they reach a global audience, generating interest in a paper before it has been submitted to a journal. Research shows that papers that started off as preprints gain higher numbers of citations and mentions.

No. 2: Join the open access community

By sharing preprints, authors are able to make their findings immediately available to their scientific colleagues. On agriRxiv, for example, there is no charge for authors or readers.

Open access and open science are important to CABI. When agriRxiv was launched, Dr Andy Robinson, Managing Director of Publishing at CABI, said:

“It’s part of our commitment to ‘open science’ in agriculture and complements our work with governments and research funders to develop open and FAIR data-sharing policies and practices.”

For agricultural researchers in low- to middle-income countries and early-stage researchers who may lack access to research budgets, there is a clear benefit to having free, open access research platforms that share research freely and globally.

No. 3: Connect with researchers

Research on the highly invasive apple snail was posted as a preprint on agriRxiv

In March 2021, CABI and KEPHIS published new research confirming the discovery of the highly invasive apple snail, Pomacea canaliculata, in Kenya. The scientists, including lead author and Microbiology Research Leader at CABI, Dr Alan Buddie, published their findings in CABI Agriculture and Bioscience, but also as a preprint on agriRxiv several months earlier, which became one of the top 10 agriRxiv preprints of 2020.

Talking about the benefit of posting a preprint to agriRxiv, Dr Buddie said,

“A colleague suggested I use agriRxiv, which has proved useful. I’ve already been contacted by a researcher from Brazil after he saw a capture of the preprint in CAB Abstracts. He works on the apple snail in an area of natural control of invertebrate pests and is someone who I’d not normally encounter. So, I think this goes to show how helpful a preprint platform can be for connecting researchers globally.”

On global agricultural issues, such as the spread of invasive species like the apple snail, which damages rice crops, it is important that researchers be able to share their findings as quickly as possible.

Join our upcoming preprints event

If you are interested in learning more about the importance of preprints and agricultural sciences, join us on 29 April 2021 at 3pm BST, when CABI and ASAPbio will host a webinar on ‘Preprints – Accelerating plant sciences and agriculture: Driving innovation in research with rapid, free and open communication’.

In this webinar, expert speakers will discuss the outlook of preprints in plant sciences and agriculture, explore what can be learned from fields with a longer tradition of preprint use and hear from researchers who have successfully used preprints for the communication of their research.

Remember to sign up to save yourself a place!

Preprints – Accelerating plant sciences and agriculture

Niklaus Grünwald – Research Plant Pathologist at the
Horticultural Crops Research Laboratory, USDA Agricultural
Research Service, courtesy Professor at Oregon State
University, founding Editor-in-Chief for CABI Agriculture and
Presenting on subjects including preprints and
how they fit into the publication process

Sridhar Gutam – Senior Scientist at ICAR-Indian Institute of
Horticultural Research. Convenor for Open Access India,
founder of the Open Access Journal of Medicinal and Aromatic
Plants, agriRxiv and IndiaRxiv
Presenting on subjects including the value of
preprints for researchers in agricultural

Samantha Hindle – Content Manager at bioRxiv and medRxiv,
Co-founder of PREreview.
Presenting on subjects including the use of
bioRxiv by plant scientists

Stephanie van Wyk – Post-doctoral research fellow at the
Forestry and Agricultural Biotechnology Institute, University of
Presenting on subjects including the value of
preprints for early-career researchers in plant
and agricultural sciences

Panel debate moderator

Andy Robinson – Managing Director, Publishing and
Knowledge Business, CABI 

Panel debate moderator

Iratxe Puebla
– Associate Director, ASAPbio

Interested in open science? See more at CABI Open Access

Interested in invasive species? Learn more at Action on Invasives

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