Visiting Scholar: Preprint Uptake and Use Project

The ScholCommLab and ASAPbio are seeking a Visiting Scholar to collaborate with us on a special project about preprints uptake and use (details below). This funded position is open to faculty, postdoctoral researchers, and graduate students (enrolled full-time at an accredited institution) interested in joining us for a 2-4 month long research stay in Vancouver, Canada.

About the Project

Preprinting in the life sciences has grown rapidly in recent years but still represents a very small fraction (<3%) of the biomedical literature published each year. Existing data sources and monitors present indicators of growth in broad research areas and large regions. However, more localised and specific data is needed to support many different communities to have conversations about the productive use of preprints and to identify best practices in preprinting — both are key functions in ASAPbio’s work to advance preprinting in the life sciences. ASAPbio and the ScholCommLab are collaborating to better understand the status of preprint adoption and impact in specific research communities.

This project aims to consolidate and analyse available data across preprint servers to understand the adoption of preprinting in specific communities, by keyword and subject area, authors and institutions. We wish to map these data to available scholarly network data to understand nodes of preprint adoption and non-adoption by scientists in the context of their research connections. Areas of interest include revealing subject-specific or regional clusters of new authors, identifying repeat preprinters and how they affect adoption by co-authors and collaborators, and relating adoption to journal and funder policies. This will help situate accordingly conversations about preprinting and best practices amongst researchers in their specific networks.

As a stretch goal, we are also interested in understanding the impact of preprinting on transparency in research communication. Measures may include public commenting activity, versioning frequency and cadence, and time to publication.

About the Position

The visiting scholar will contribute to these research aims by:

  1. Consolidating available data sources into an efficient and usable database, starting with the SHARE database;
  2. Mapping author metadata to nodes in a scholarly network graph;
  3. Analysing the available data to understand the level and impact of preprinting adoption in specific research communities, for example by keyword or institution/region.

During their 2-4 month stay, the visiting scholar will have the opportunity to work with the ScholCommLab’s international and interdisciplinary network of bibliometric and scholarly communication researchers and experts. To facilitate the work, the visiting scholar will have access to a range of data (e.g., Web of Science, Altmetric, Twitter), tools, and methodologies (e.g., for data collection and analysis), and will be given visiting scholar or visiting graduate student status in the Publishing Program at Simon Fraser University, Vancouver.

To Apply

We are accepting applications until the position is filled, but we encourage applicants to apply by Mar 15, 2019 for full consideration in the program. To apply, please submit a cover letter, CV, and two references (name and contact information) to Alice Fleerackers at


This funded scholarship position includes airfare to and from Vancouver and a stipend of $3,000 CDN per month. Additional funding may be available to present results of the collaboration at agreed upon conferences.

The visiting scholar will also be given a desk in a shared space including internet and online library access.

Visa requirements

Selected applicants from outside Canada must obtain a valid visa and/or work permit for the research stay. Some support may be available for visa and/or work permit applications from the University of Ottawa and Simon Fraser University. For information on the visa application process for your country, please refer to Immigration, Refugees and Citizenship Canada’s website:

About Us

The ScholCommLab is a research group that analyzes all aspects of scholarly communication in the digital age, co-directed by Juan Pablo Alperin and Stefanie Haustein. Find out more at

ASAPbio is a scientist-driven non-profit promoting transparency and innovation in life science communication. Find out more at