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Instead of waiting months or years to have their experimental results reviewed by peers and published in a prestigious academic journal, a growing number of scientists now just cut to the chase and put their work online as soon as it’s done.

These so-called preprints—uploaded to open platforms where other scientists (and non-scientists, too!) can read and respond for free — exploded in popularity during the pandemic. As much as 25% of all research published about Covid-19 has appeared in a preprint.

Northeastern University professors Aleszu Bajak and Jeff Howe wrote that preprint studies that have not gone through a traditional intensive review can result in bad information going public — information that various points of view will use in their favor. When the study has to do with a pandemic, the misinformation can cause great harm.


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