There is a forum for Nature Precedings on Nature Network, where you can ask questions, receive answers and join the debate about this new way to post your results. (It is all free, but you need to sign up to Nature Network first.) One such question asked of Nature Precedings by a science blogger is: Why post on Precedings when one can just post on one’s blog? Hilary Spencer, product development manager for Nature Precedings, provides a reply at the Nature Network forum:
To me, there seem to be very good reasons to post on Precedings, the first of which involves stability. Blogs, and personal webpages, can be ephemeral. If the author changes affiliations, domain names, or even blog publishing software, blog postings may disappear. One of the goals of Precedings is to create a stable permanent archive for researchers. We anticipate that the content will be mirrored by one or more of our partner organizations, thus ensuring that the researcher’s work will always be available.
The second related reason involves ”citability”. Blogs citations currently fall in a gray area—there is no definitive way to cite a blog posting, although this is changing. One of the benefits of Precedings is that every document posted is citable, thus ensuring that the author can be properly credited with the idea. We assign a DOI or a handle to every submission, which provides a permanent identifier for the document and can be used in citations.
A final reason is exposure. For many researchers, posting to a central archive provides more exposure for their ideas than they would receive by posting it on their website. For example, I think authors tend to get more exposure when their documents are also listed in PubMed rather than only on their personal website. (Precedings allows researchers to link submissions to postings on their blogs for redundancy.) To that end, we hope Precedings will help researchers reach a wider audience for their ideas.
Nature has always been very supportive of the blogging community, but we feel that Precedings fills a gap between (informal) blogs and (formal) peer-reviewed publications. What are your thoughts?
Can you post on both Precedings and your blog? Go to the forum to give us your views and see our responses to questions like this, or add your comments here. Other topics being disussed at the Precedings Network forum are whether PowerPoint presentations are acceptable for Nature Precedings, the site’s rating system, and what drives people to post preprints in a public website.