Living in Another World

Preprint advocates continue to be irrational, and don't seem to realize that authors have already changed the game on them

Last week, I touched briefly on a “consensus view” from a group of preprint advocates published in PLOS Biology.

Today, I want to dive into it a little more deeply, because it has many of the traits of a royal family — conflicted, arrogant, brainwashed, entitled, and out-of-touch.

PLOS has been in the bag with preprints for a long time, apparently viewing the idea of unreviewed manuscripts posted for public consumption as somehow consonant with the ideals of OA or open science.

PLOS is behaving irrationally in its embrace of preprints. Not only do their journals lose citations to preprints posted elsewhere and given competing DOIs, but the paper related to preprints they help to post perform worse from a citation standpoint than those related to preprints deposited independently.

Every time PLOS touches preprints, it hurts itself — yet, it remains devoted to the cause. This is irrational behavior.

Yet, here we are, with a consensus view published in PLOS Biology, which loses 6.5% of its citations to preprints. When you feel entitled and arrogant, you think everything will work out, and nothing can hurt you. And when you start kissing your cousin — an OA publisher making out with preprint servers qualifies in my mind — you’re intellectual offspring might have some deficits.