STEM Preprint Repositories: Where Are They Now?

In light of the one year anniversary of engrXiv, and the recent creation of AgriXiv and PsyArXiv, we wanted to highlight the availability of preprint repositories for STEM disciplines.  Preprint services provide free, open access to research articles.  The goal of these sites include disseminating “knowledge quickly and efficiently” (1), “providing a free, open access outlet for new findings” (2), and making “research outputs …  immediately available to all the stakeholders for understanding and finding suitable solutions” (3).

Researchers often add their preprints to these repositories, so they are called preprint servers, but postprints and published versions might be included as well. Awareness of the open access movement is spreading, and more researchers have a desire to make their research articles open.  Reasons for publishing work open access include funding agency mandates to make research results publicly available, and researcher desire to make their work accessible for increased visibility and public good.  We wanted to highlight STEM disciplinary repositories so science librarians can help patrons both find and share open access scientific research.

arXiv was founded in 1991 as an electronic archive for research articles from physics, math, computer science, nonlinear science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, and statistics.  arXiv is operated by Cornell University Library, and there are over 1 million submissions to arXiv.  

Life science researchers can use bioRxiv, a free online archive and distribution service for unpublished preprints. It is operated by Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory, and was launched in 2013.  It has about 13,500 content items.  

AgriXiv, engrXiv, and PsyArXiv were all founded within the last year or so.  All three use Open Science Framework’s preprint service.  AgriXiv, preprints for agriculture and allied sciences, was founded earlier in 2017, and does not have lot of content added yet.  AgriXiv stresses the “importance of agricultural research to meet the demands for food production and … livelihood promotion” and the “growing need for dedicated research sharing and dissemination” to “facilitate the sharing of interim research for public good” (3). Learn more at the AgriXiv blog.  engrXiv was founded in 2016, and is dedicated to the “dissemination of engineering knowledge quickly and efficiently” (1).  In addition to the preprint server, engrXiv has a blog to share news related to the site.  Currently, there are about 130 posts on engrXiv.  PsyArXiv, an open-access preprint service for psychological sciences, was founded late in 2016, but already has a large amount of content added, about 700 posts.  You can learn more at the PsyArXiv blog.  

ChemRxiv is an open preprint server for chemistry, still under development by the American Chemical Society (ACS).  ChemRxiv is intended to be a collaborative undertaking to facilitate the discoverability of scientific research.  Interested users can sign up for alerts to get news and updates about ChemRxiv.  

Finally, a note about the Center for Open Science and the Open Science Framework, as these may be helpful open access resources for science librarians and their patrons.  The Center for Open Science is a nonprofit company that aims “to increase openness, integrity, and reproducibility of research” (4).  Open Science Framework is their free and open source tool for research project management across the entire research lifecycle. Researchers can collaborate with their groups, make their projects accessible, and store and archive research data, protocols, and materials.


  1. About engrXiv. (2016, July). Retrieved August 12, 2017, from
  2. Introducing PsyArXiv: Psychology’s dedicated open access digital archive. (2016, December). Retrieved August 12, 2017, from
  3. AgriXiv. (2017, February). Retrieved August 12, 2017, from
  4. Brian Nosek. (n.d.). A Brief History of COS. Retrieved August 12, 2017, from


Emily Gari, Science & Engineering Librarian, University of Colorado Boulder


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