Frankfurter Buchmesse:
Science as a Conversation

Daniel Himmelstein (@dhimmel)

HighWire’s Preprint Panel

Festhalle Messe Frankfurt, Hall 4.2

October 16th, 2019 17:00

slides released under CC BY 4.0

event information (website)


Science is a continuous process: an ongoing conversation between researchers as they test, retest, rebut and refute each other’s work. However, this fluidity is not supported by the traditional scholarly publishing workflow, a long-tail process where researchers can wait months or sometimes years for the publication of a journal. When that publication does come, journals are often less an iterative part of the conversation, and more of a full-stop: an monolithic and largely immutable piece of content.

Perhaps this explains the exponential growth in the use of preprint server, with more manuscripts posted to the 5 year old bioRxiv server in 2018 than in the 4 years previous. With the popularity of preprints bolstered last year by policy mandating preprints for all research supported by the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, this year has seen the launch of medRxiv– with rigorous screening processes implemented to allay the risks of unvetted medical research.

In this session, we will discuss the evolving role and importance of the preprint archive, its risks and how to mitigate against them, as well as touching upon other ways we might be able to make the publishing process more iterative and collaborative in the future.


Dr. John Inglis (Founder of medRxiv and bioRxiv, Cold Spring Harbor Press), Darla Henderson (Publisher, Global Journals Development, ACS), and Daniel Himmelstein (Postdoctoral Fellow, University of Pennsylvania and co-founder of Manubot). Chaired by Jim Longo, VP of Product & Development, HighWire.

most viewed bioRxiv preprint of 2017

33 affiliations

deep review contribution history

the questions begin

where is the conversation?

~10% of bioRxiv preprints have comments.
Source: Inglis & Sever 2016.

Using PeerJ's comment feature to flag an error journal integration



  1. integrate conversations from multiple locations
  2. all studies should have a conversation venue
  3. incentivize public conversation
  4. all conversation enters the scientific record





Frankfurt Book Fair HighWire Panel: Science as conversation

By Daniel Himmelstein

Frankfurt Book Fair HighWire Panel: Science as conversation

Presentation by Daniel Himmelstein at HighWire's panel on preprints at the Frankfurt Book Faire on 2019-10-16. This presentation is released under a CC BY 4.0 License.

  • 2,346