Japan has become the latest country to open an online preprint repository, in a bid to boost international exposure for the country’s research. But so far, researchers haven’t rushed to publish on Jxiv (fewer than 40 articles have been uploaded since its launch in March), and some researchers say the platform isn’t necessary.
Jxiv supporters, however, believe the platform will grow in popularity, with some researchers suggesting that they will like it because it is backed by the government. “If the government organizes this, it will surely stick,” says Guojun Sheng, an embryologist at Kumamoto University in Japan.
Japan’s output of published research papers is among the highest in the world. But researchers in Japan don’t often share early versions of their manuscripts on preprint servers, says Soichi Kubota, who works in the information infrastructure department of the government-run Japan Science and Technology Agency (JST) in Japan. Tokyo.
Kubota says that the JST wants to change that. He established Jxiv to fill a gap in existing platforms, which are not suited to all research fields, including those popular in Japan, such as history, business and management, linguistics, and interdisciplinary sciences. A large number of articles published in Japanese are in these fields. Researchers can publish manuscripts on Jxiv in English and Japanese.
India, Russia, China, Indonesia, and Africa have their own dedicated repositories. Similar services hosting research conducted in France and the Arab world were discontinued in 2020. Some of the most popular repositories are subject-specific, such as the original preprint server, arXiv, for mathematical and physical science manuscripts.
A long-standing criticism of preprint servers is that because papers are published without standard editing or peer review, there is no process to weed out low-quality research.
Kubota acknowledges that some low-quality preprints are posted on preprint servers, but argues that the benefits of a Japanese preprint server outweigh any drawbacks. The platform can help spread Japanese science to a wider international audience because the manuscripts are free to read. And he hopes Jxiv will boost collaborations between Japanese scientists and international colleagues.
Kubota notes that researchers often post early manuscripts on preprint servers to get peer feedback, which acts as an informal peer review, before submitting the manuscript to a journal. This process can also reduce the workload on journal reviewers, she says.
But Thomas Russell, a polymer scientist with joint appointments at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and Tohoku University in Sendai, worries that encouraging researchers in Japan to use preprint servers means his manuscripts won’t attract scrutiny. suitable online. “I think the Japanese are more reserved than Western cultures” when it comes to being critical in a public forum, he says.
Russell believes that preprint servers are not necessary to spread research quickly. “If it’s good science, it’ll go through the review process and it’ll be out quickly,” he says.
But Sheng thinks Jxiv will catch on, especially if funding agencies start requiring researchers whose work they fund to use it in the future.