12 October 2022 – After the successful completion of a trial period, EMBO keeps accepting refereed preprints as equivalent to publications in peer-reviewed journals in the evaluation of applications for EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships. Refereed preprints are packages of a preprint, the reviewers’ reports, and the authors’ responses.
EMBO had already considered unrefereed primary research papers posted on preprint servers such as bioRxiv or medRxiv in the evaluation of applications for EMBO Postdoctoral Fellowships. But a published or accepted first-author publication in an international peer-reviewed journal had still been a requirement for eligibility. “We now consider publications in journals and refereed preprints equal for applications”, says Kelly Sheehan-Rooney, Head of the EMBO Fellowship Programme.
With the move EMBO leads the way by endorsing refereed preprints in funding decision making, thus further strengthening its support of young scientists who need to demonstrate their peer-reviewed research output as soon as possible. EMBO and ASAPbio launched Review Commons, a platform for independent peer-review of preprints, in 2019. Authors can submit their preprint to Review Commons for peer-review, receive reviewers’ reports and respond, and transfer the refereed preprint to one of 17 affiliated journals, including all EMBO Press journals, The EMBO Journal, EMBO Reports, Molecular Systems Biology and EMBO Molecular Medicine. In June 2022 and following the Transparent Peer Review at the EMBO Press journals, Review Commons made preprint peer-review fully transparent: the reviewers’ reports and the authors’ response for each manuscript peer-reviewed are posted to bioRxiv or medRxiv as soon as the authors submit their refereed preprint to one of the affiliated journals.