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ECSarXiv is a free online service for preprints and other preliminary communications not yet published in a peer-reviewed outlet, which facilitates the rapid exchange of ideas in electrochemistry and solid state science and technology. It is operated by ECS, a nonprofit scholarly society. There is no charge to submit, and no charge to read the posts.
ECSarXiv is part of the greater ECS Free the Science initiative, which is a long-term vision to make our research freely available to all readers, while remaining free for authors to publish. It is a new model for ECS, one of the last independent, nonprofit scientific society publishers.
ECS is a very broad and diverse international community of more than 8,000 individual members and 48,000 other constituents. ECSarXiv is part of a more comprehensive, transparent, and complete ecosystem of scholarly communication for electrochemistry and solid state science and technology, enabling faster research.
Electrochemistry and solid state science are the future: scientists and engineers in electrochemistry and solid state science hold the keys to innovation in the renewable energy, biomedical, water, sanitation, communications, transportation, and infrastructure sectors. Thus ECSarXiv helps to disseminate important information in these areas, earlier, and in a broader, freer way. Rapidly disseminating new knowledge or techniques is good for science overall because it leads to new discoveries.
Why another preprint service? ECS is a very broad and diverse community, and has needs that are different from those using preprint services such as arXiv, bioRxiv, ChemArxiv, and others. An ECS preprint service helps to create a more comprehensive and transparent ecosystem of scholarly communication for electrochemistry and solid state science and technology, enabling faster, more relevant search results for the field.
ECSarXiv is powered by the Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework, which has made our service cost-effective, has placed our authors in a broad community of researchers working in allied fields, and provides a robust search interface across other scholarly resources through the SHARE service.
Benefits of ECSarXiv
- Opens access across the globe enhances visibility, especially for early-career researchers
- Affords citable documentation of preliminary results of research (preprints in ECSarXiv carry a DOI)
- Immediate availability (after quick moderation) for grant/hiring committees
- Evidence of productivity and accomplishment
- Establishes priority of discoveries
- Facilitates building a robust article for journal submission
- Develops new collaborations earlier
- Attracts attention of editors and symposium organizers
- Enables the publication of more types of content (including slides, datasets and software)
- Provides a mechanism for the rapid transmission of results
- Can be used to meet some open access mandates
- Aids in reproducibility: can post new, confirmatory, or contradictory results
- Levels the playing field, not dependent on name-brand institutions, the research stands on its own
- Improves the culture of communication within the scholarly community
Technical areas covered by ECSarXiv
ECSarXiv accepts preprints and other communications covering all aspects of research in electrochemistry and solid state science and technology under the Topical Interest Areas used for all ECS publications:
- Batteries and Energy Storage
- Carbon Nanostructures and Devices
- Corrosion Science and Technology
- Dielectric Science and Materials
- Electrochemical/Electroless Deposition
- Electrochemical Engineering
- Electronic Materials and Processing
- Electronic and Photonic Devices and Systems
- Fuel Cells, Electrolyzers, and Energy Conversion
- Luminescence and Display Materials, Devices, and Processing
- Organic and Bioelectrochemistry
- Physical and Analytical Electrochemistry, Electrocatalysis, and Photoelectrochemistry
- Preprints may be articles, slide presentations, datasets, software, etc.
- PREPRINTS MAY NOT BE ARTICLES THAT HAVE ALREADY BEEN PUBLISHED IN ANY PEER-REVIEWED JOURNAL.
- Preprints undergo a screening process to reject offensive and/or nonscientific content and/or content not relevant to the fields ECS covers.
- Preprints are not peer-reviewed, edited, or typeset before being posted online.
- Preprints must be in English.
- Authors may submit a revised version of a preprint to ECSarXiv at any time (prior to publication in a journal). Once accepted and posted on ECSarXiv, preprints have a DOI and are citable.
- No endorsement of a preprint’s methods, assumptions, conclusions, or scientific quality by ECS is implied by its appearance in ECSarXiv.
- Always check the policies of the journals where you plan to submit for peer review. Most journals allow submissions based on preprints. Some journals allow the author to submit subsequent revised preprints after submitting to journals, some do not.
- ECS assumes no responsibility for the possible contamination by electronic “viruses” of any preprints.
Definition of ECSarXiv preprints
Preprints do not replace a journal paper, they precede it. A preprint is any draft of a document starting from the author’s original version but prior to an accepted journal version. A preprint can contain complete data and methodologies. Other types of information that are currently difficult to publish (e.g., negative results, results in slide decks, explanations of datasets, etc.) can be transmitted. Preprints and journal publication work in parallel as a communication system for scientific research. Based upon feedback and/or new data, new versions of a preprint can be submitted. Preprints allow researchers to directly control the dissemination of their work to the community world-wide. Preprints are not formally peer reviewed; when re-using or citing them, this status should be clearly indicated.
How preprints are different from journal manuscripts
In many cases, preprints and journal manuscripts are the same in their basic content. Typically, a preprint is submitted before the manuscript is submitted to a journal. Some researchers want to make a preprint public for a few weeks before journal submission in order to ask the community for feedback. There have been instances of journal editors scanning preprint services, seeing these posts, and then contacting the authors to submit to their journal.
A preprint can offer more freedom in expression. As just one example, for many journals, the short communication article type has strict guidelines for length and formatting. In a preprint, you could extend the introduction, conclusion, and references to provide more context for your work.
While the scholarly communications ecosystem is rapidly progressing to allow freer communication, some journals are lagging behind in what authors want and need. For example, some journals do not allow a new version to be submitted to a preprint service after that content has been submitted to the journal; and some journals do not allow upload of the copyedited, formatted article. It is very important to always check the policies of individual journals before posting your preprint. For ECS, that information may be found here.
Journals that allow preprints
Most research journals, including those of ECS, allow posting on preprint services such as ECSarXiv, prior to journal publication. A list of journal policies can be found on Wikipedia and SHERPA/RoMEO. Authors should consult these lists, but always should check the policies of the specific journals to which they wish to submit, before posting on ECSarXiv. For ECS journals, that information may be found here.
Citing a preprint
ECSarXiv provides a choice of citation styles right in the submission area. Most styles (Chicago, MLA, etc.) call for citing the authors(s)’ names, the date, the title of the preprint, and the DOI. Be sure to check with the journal where you want to submit for its specific style.
Preparing your preprint for submission
Prepare your document just as carefully as you would do for a journal submission. A posted preprint is public and can be seen by the entire community; and a well-constructed, quality preprint can help to build your scientific reputation.
Unlike journal submissions, your work will be available immediately (after moderation, which will take 1-2 business days) and will be seen by many viewers right away, compared with the typical two or three reviewers who see a journal submission.
For specifics on how to prepare and submit a preprint, go to the ECSarXiv site, and on your account page, under “My Profile,” there’s a link “OSF Support” and then a drop-down to “OSF Guides.” Scroll down and click on the “Preprints” icon.
ECS strongly encourages authors to update their preprints with the DOI of the version of record of any subsequent journal publication. Links will help users to find, access, cite, and use the best-available version of you work.
Choose the appropriate license, which communicates to others how you will allow others to use your work. The service currently allows for a wide variety of licenses, from Creative Commons open access licenses to open source licenses. When submitting a preprint in ECSarXiv, clicking on the “Show full text” link (under “choosing a license”) will show you the actual license terms of any particular license.
All preprints submitted to OSF Preprints and community preprint servers are indexed by Google Scholar and SHARE. COS and ECSarXiv continue to work with funding agencies and technical providers to develop additional means to discover preprints. To search Google Scholar for ECSarXiv preprints, enter “https://osf.io/preprints/ecsarxiv *” into the search box. You can replace the * with other search text such as “fuel cells” to refine the search.
All preprints are free to read and all preprints carry some form of open access or open source license. Check the license on the preprint to see how the content may be re-used.
Scooping and quality
The current journal system already is challenged by issues of poor quality, irreproducibility, scooping, and gaps in peer review; but there is no current evidence that the situation will worsen with preprints. In some cases, preprints can help draw attention to errors, enabling the author to correct them before submitting to a journal. Authors should be aware that a preprint can be flawed, just as a journal paper can be. Researchers work hard to build and maintain excellent reputations in their fields, and they continue these practices when publishing in preprint services.
Another concern is that a preprint could release information that could have adverse effects on the public at large. In fact, when misinformation is published in a journal, it can be more damaging because journals carry an implied seal of approval from the scientific community. This is a growing issue in the life sciences, not only in preprints, but in journal publishing; and those organizations have put measures in place to manage this concern. Nevertheless, preprint services, as well as peer-reviewed journals, will require continued attention from our scientific community.
“Scooping” is another issue, and which gets a great deal of attention in discussions about preprints. Researchers worry that their ideas and work will be published by others and that they will not receive proper recognition. Postings in most preprint services, like ECSarXiv, however, are date-stamped priority claims. An excellent discussion on this topic may be found here.
The Center for Open Science’s Open Science Framework provides a unique service where you can post a preprint, create a project, and more. OSF projects make it simple for researchers to organize their work and share it; they’re a place where you can keep all your files, data, and protocols in one centralized location. This includes a place to show all the preprints and other files associated with a particular project, a wiki section where you can write about the project, and where you can connect to different external services such as GitHub, Dropbox, Google Drive, and more.
Currently, every submitted preprint automatically creates a corresponding project, although COS is working to separate these two functions on the OSF platform.
- Jeff Fergus, Editor, ECS Transactions
- Dennis Hess, Editor, ECS Journal of Solid State Science and Technology
- Robert G. Kelly, Editor, Interface
- Robert Mantz, United States Army Research Office
- Slava Rotkin, Pennsylvania State University
- Robert Savinell, Editor, Journal of The Electrochemical Society
- Beth Craanen, ECS Director of Publications
For further reading
- P. E. Bourne, J. K. Polka, R. D. Vale, and R. Kiley, “Ten Simple Rules to Consider Regarding Preprint Submission,” May 4, 2017, https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pcbi.1005473.
- J. Luther, “The Stars Are Aligning for Preprints,” April 18, 2017, https://scholarlykitchen.sspnet.org/2017/04/18/stars-aligning-preprints/.
- T. Vence, “Journals Seek out Preprints,” January 18, 2017, http://www.the-scientist.com/?articles.view/articleNo/48068/title/Journals-Seek-Out-Preprints/.
- R. D. Vale and A. A. Hyman, “Point of View: Priority of Discovery in the Life Sciences,” June 16, 2016, https://elife.elifesciences.org/content/5/e16931.
- An excellent discussion on the topic of scooping may be found here: http://asapbio.org/preprint-info/preprint-faq#qe-faq-923, accessed April 11, 2018.
- “What are preprints,” a short video from ASAPbio: https://youtu.be/2zMgY8Dx9co.