NIH Preprint Pilot Will Speed Distribution of COVID-19 Research Results and Literature

Funding News Edition: July 01, 2020
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During the ongoing public health emergency, the research community is relying on preprints—complete, public drafts of scientific documents not yet certified by peer review—to accelerate dissemination of SARS-CoV-2 and COVID-19 research. This effort also highlights the need for broader discovery and distribution of early research results in literature searches.

Responding to this urgent need, the National Library of Medicine (NLM) launched the NIH Preprint Pilot, which will test the viability of making preprints searchable in PubMed Central (PMC) and discoverable in PubMed, starting with preprints reporting NIH-supported COVID-19 research. The pilot is expected to run for a minimum of 12 months, and its outcomes will inform future NLM preprint efforts.

The NIH Preprint Pilot follows the March 24, 2017 Guide notice Reporting Preprints and Other Interim Research Products, which encouraged investigators to use interim research products, such as preprints, to speed the dissemination and enhance the rigor of their work.

The first phase of the pilot will leverage the iSearch COVID-19 Portfolio established by the NIH Office of Portfolio Analysis to identify preprints related to COVID-19 research authored by NIH staff or extramural grantees who acknowledge support of an NIH award. The pilot, as well as PMC, aligns with the NIH Public Access Policy, which requires scientists to submit final peer-reviewed manuscripts to PMC immediately upon acceptance for publication.

In future phases, NLM will work directly with preprint servers to make preprints more easily discoverable through PMC. We strongly encourage investigators to follow the preprint process as outlined in the Guide notice referenced above.

More Information

To learn more about the Preprint Pilot, read Emerging Research Now Available Through New NIH Preprint Pilot on NIH Deputy Director of Extramural Research Dr. Michael Lauer’s Open Mike blog. NLM encourages NIH investigators to explore the NIH Preprint Pilot FAQs and send feedback to

To learn more about preprints, check out the following Funding News articles on NIAID’s website:

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