One definition of a preprint is a manuscript or article draft that has not been submitted or accepted for publication. A preprint server is defined as an online collection of preprints that are posted and made publicly available for viewing and comment. Preprints got their start in physics with arXiv which expanded to include other disciplines. With physics and mathematics leading the way, other disciplines gradually exchanged preprints and created preprint servers.
How do Preprint Servers Work? Scholars deposit their preprints in order to solicit feedback to their drafts so they can make improvements. More subject areas are starting to use these as another way to get ideas, solicit feedback, network, and collaborate with others.
Arguments For and Against Preprint Servers. Some scholars criticize preprint servers as providing ways for their work to be scooped. Some publishers may not accept manuscripts posted in these servers ("Inglefinger Rule") although this is decreasing; if interested in submitting your manuscript to a publisher, check their policy about this. Others argue that these servers have value in time-stamping an original idea to a scholar or their team, increasing the visibility of one's work, and with facilitating a larger or more rapid exchange of ideas. Consider your discipline norms and other variables that may apply to deciding whether or not to post your pre-published work in a preprint server.
Preprint Servers: Multidisciplinary & By Discipline
Find preprints, or deposit yours into one!