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Day-to-day discovery of preprint–publication links

Abstract : Preprints promote the open and fast communication of non-peer reviewed work. Once a preprint is published in a peer-reviewed venue, the preprint server updates its web page: a prominent hyperlink leading to the newly published work is added. Linking preprints to publications is of utmost importance as it provides readers with the latest version of a now certified work. Yet leading preprint servers fail to identify all existing preprint-publication links. This limitation calls for a more thorough approach to this critical information retrieval task: overlooking published evidence translates into partial and even inaccurate systematic reviews on health-related issues, for instance. We designed an algorithm leveraging the Crossref public and free source of bibliographic metadata to comb the literature for preprint-publication links. We tested it on a reference preprint set identified and curated for a living systematic review on interventions for preventing and treating COVID-19 performed by international collaboration: the COVID-NMA initiative (covid-nma. com). The reference set comprised 343 preprints, 121 of which appeared as a publication in a peer-reviewed journal. While the preprint servers identified 39.7% of the preprint-publication links, our linker identified 90.9% of the expected links with no clues taken from the preprint servers. The accuracy of the proposed linker is 91.5% on this reference set, with 90.9% sensitivity and 91.9% specificity. This is a 16.26% increase in accuracy compared to that of preprint servers. We release this software as supplementary material to foster its integration into preprint servers' workflows and enhance a daily preprint-publication chase that is useful to all readers, including systematic reviewers. This preprint-publication linker currently provides day-today updates to the biomedical experts of the COVID-NMA initiative.
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Contributor : Guillaume Cabanac <>
Submitted on : Sunday, April 18, 2021 - 4:00:26 PM
Last modification on : Wednesday, June 9, 2021 - 10:00:35 AM


Publication funded by an institution


Distributed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License



Guillaume Cabanac, Theodora Oikonomidi, Isabelle Boutron. Day-to-day discovery of preprint–publication links. Scientometrics, Springer Verlag, 2021, ⟨10.1007/s11192-021-03900-7⟩. ⟨hal-03201365⟩



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