Chuer Xu, Qianjin Zong

Can open peer review improve uptake of preprints into policies? Evidence from a causal inference

  • Management, Monitoring, Policy and Law
  • Public Administration
  • Geography, Planning and Development

Abstract The advantage of no publication time lag had led to the use of preprints as research evidence for public policy development that required a rapid response. However, the opposite side of the lack of publication time lag for preprints was their usual lack of peer review, which was the main reason why preprints were criticized as low quality and unreliable. This study aimed to investigate the effects of open peer review on the uptake of preprints into policies (measured by preprints being cited in policy documents). The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) preprints from bioRxiv and medRxiv were used as a sample (n = 20,959). A causal inference approach, namely, propensity score matching analysis, was used to examine the dataset. Our study found that open peer review significantly increased the uptake of preprints by policies. Limitations of this study were also discussed. This study could bring insights to researchers and preprint servers in improving the uptake of preprints into policies.

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