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Comparing quality of reporting between preprints and peer-reviewed articles in the biomedical literature

Preprint usage is growing rapidly in the life sciences; however, questions remain on the relative quality of preprints when compared to published articles. An objective dimension of quality that is readily measurable is completeness of reporting, as transparency can improve the reader’s ability to independently interpret data and reproduce findings. In this study, the authors compared random samples of articles published in bioRxiv and in PubMed-indexed journals in 2016 using a quality of reporting questionnaire. It was found that peer-reviewed articles had, on average, higher quality of reporting than preprints, although this difference was small. On average, they found that peer reviewers caught just one deficiency per manuscript in about 25 categories of reporting.
Although the sample size was small and only 56 bioRxiv preprints were analyse, these results indicate show that quality of reporting in preprints in the life sciences is within a similar range as that of peer-reviewed articles, supporting the idea that preprints should be considered valid scientific contributions.

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