In a nutshell

The project aims to help scientists navigate the ever-growing preprint literature and facilitate commenting on preprints.
A group of early-career researchers (the 'preLighters') select preprints that they think are interesting for the community, and write digests about them. These posts also feature personal opinions of preLighters about why the work is important, and engage preprint authors who often reply to questions raised in the preprint highlight.

Goals and intentions

1) Since the launch of bioRxiv, the number of posted preprints has been exponentially growing and is expected to further increase in the future. This will make it more and more difficult for researchers to keep up with the preprint literature. preLights aims to help scientists by selecting and summarizing interesting preprints for them.

2) Despite the growing popularity of preprints, public commenting on preprints hasn't taken off. At preLights, early-career researchers give personal opinions about preprints (which are often in their field of expertise). In addition, anyone can comment on the preLights posts and by also encouraging preprint authors to provide 'author responses',  preLights aims to facilitate discussions about preprints.

3) Finally, preLights aims to promote early-career researchers and give them a platform where they can practice their scientific writing and reviewing skills. These ECRs also play an important role in raising awareness and advocating for preprints.

Project status
Types of outputs
Review process
  • Review requested by
  • Reviewer selected by
  • Public interaction
  • Author response
  • Decision
Review policy
  • Review coverage
    Complete paper
  • Reviewer identity known to
  • Competing interests
    Not included
Social Networks
Review features
  • Manuscript hosting
  • Notes

    'News and views' type of summary with personal opinion + questions to the authors; freeform commenting by anyone

  • Eligible reviewers/editors
    preLighters are selected through an application process, in which they have to write a preprint highlight, a short bio and explain their motivation to join
  • Tags or badges
  • Number of scholarly outputs commented on
  • Metrics
    We track usage of the service and participation of the selected 'preLighters' (Currently we receive cc. 2K views/week on the website and have 130 active 'preLighters'). We also track the number of preprint author comments (currently cc. 30% of posts have author comments)
  • Naomi Penfold
    2019-03-04 at 10:32

    Is there a public list of all preprints that have now been ‘preLighted’?

    Naomi, ASAPbio

  • pmate
    2019-03-05 at 09:43

    Hi Naomi, since the title of all preLights posts is the preprint title, it is easy to check which preprints have been highlighted. In case you would like to have this list in a spreadsheet, I’m sure we can easily generate this.
    Mate, preLights

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