“Publish or perish” isn’t just a cliche, it is a fundamental driver of success and employment for a biomedical researcher. Publishing is done in peer reviewed journals, which provide important curating and peer review activities, but which also delay publication results and decrease access. The time from article submisson, to review, to modifications, to acceptance and finally publication may take a year or more, and access to a pdf of the publication usually requires either a subscription or payment ($20 – $75 is a usual range). The physical sciences such as mathematics, physics and computer science have solved this problem by the creation of ArXiv, a site that publishes freely available preprints that are available for commenting and distribution. ArXiv posted over 100,000 articles this last year, about 80% later appear in peer-reviewed journals. Now there is a movement to produce a similar site for biologists, which would hopefully expand to include clinical articles also. This new approach is highlighted in a news article today in Nature.
See article here.