Peak research funding agencies split on pre-prints

The National Health and Medical Research Council approves citing pre-prints in research funding applications

In an announcement late yesterday, the council stated that it had taken advice from its research committee and that as of October it will accept pre-prints, “as publications for track-record assessment purposes.”

This is starkly separates the NHMRC from the Australian Research Council, now being criticised for rejecting applications for its Discovery Early Career Researcher Awards that included pre-prints (CMM Friday and Danny Kingsley’s analysis, yesterday). The ARC states that the rule was clearly included in DECRA paperwork – but not why it is there.

In contrast, the NHMRC specifies acceptable pre-prints must not be peer-reviewed and “be available in a recognised scientific public archive or repository, such as  arXiv, bioRxiv, Peer J Preprints, F1000 Research.”

The NHMRC is also looking at expanding open access considering requiring papers based on research it funds to be free to read on publication, either in the journal where they appear or in an institutional depository holding the author’s accepted manuscript. In contrast the ARC’s OA policy requires OA within 12 months of publication, “except “in cases where this requirement cannot be met for any reason, including legal or contractual obligations,” (CMM April 16).


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