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Protected as soon as you unveil your masterpiece




Heidelberg, 06 April 2017 – The four EMBO Press journals announced the extension of their “scooping protection” to preprints to help and encourage scientists to share their research findings in a timely manner.


Scooping protection is a key characteristic of the Transparent Process that EMBO Press uses for its four publications – The EMBO Journal, EMBO Reports, EMBO Molecular Medicine and Molecular Systems Biology. Under this policy, similar findings published by other researchers during peer-review or revision of a manuscript are not used as a criterion for rejection. Now, scooping protection applies from the day a manuscript is posted on a recognized preprint server, if it is submitted to an EMBO Press journal in a similar form within four months of posting.


“Preprints are one important step towards an Open Science future and allow sharing of research findings with minimal delay,” explains Bernd Pulverer, Head of Scientific Publications at EMBO. Preprints afford scientists and journals the time necessary to publish reproducible, reliable research findings. Depressurizing the publication process in this way will encourage thorough peer review, prepublication quality control and data curation processes, as well as proper revision time.


Pulverer continues: “We hope that extending the scooping protection policy of our journals to preprints will encourage preprint posting without the concern of losing priority to a competitor’s publication. It is now up to funders and institutions to encourage preprint posting by making them count for research assessment.”


EMBO has already taken this step, and accepts preprints as evidence for research achievements as part of the Long-Term Fellowship applications. Young scientists looking to take the next step in their careers do not always have time to wait for a publication in a peer reviewed journal, which can take anywhere between six months and two years, before having to apply for postdoctoral fellowships. Preprints allow them to formally document their research before the completion of peer review, making it publicly available for assessment in a funding application.


EMBO Director Maria Leptin says: “We understand the time pressure young researchers face, and therefore made the decision to accept preprints as part of a Long-Term Fellowship applicant’s publication record. Although preprints cannot replace peer-reviewed publications, they offer applicants an additional opportunity to demonstrate the way they approach scientific questions and interpret experimental data.”


As a signatory of the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assement (DORA), EMBO aims to use alternatives to journal metrics for research assessment and does not accept papers submitted for publication as part of an application for funding. Through its support for preprints, EMBO is further encouraging a move away from journal metrics.


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