April 10, 2017
The National Institutes of Health announced a major policy change that allows investigators to use interim research products, including preprints, in applications, proposals and reports starting May 25. The policy is intended to enable scientists to speed dissemination and enhance the rigor of their work, obtain feedback more quickly and receive credit for work that is not yet formally published.
Interim research products are complete, public research products that are not final. The category includes preprints and preregistration protocols. In an FAQ on its website, the agency provides citation instructions and explains how to claim an interim product as the product of an NIH award. It also provides guidance on how to select repositories in which to store interim products.
NIH developed this policy based on the 351 responses it received to its October 2016 request for information. Twenty-two professional societies representing scientists also provided input. According to the agency, the majority of respondents supported the increasing use of interim research products in NIH processes. The policy is not intended to replace the peer review process, nor peer-reviewed journals. To ensure scientific rigor and quality, NIH recommends that investigators explicitly state when work is not peer-reviewed.
Contact NIH’s Office of Policy for Extramural Research Administration with questions.