Back in June, JGR Space Physics became one of the journals to pilot a one-click transfer within GEMS to have your new submission simultaneously posted on ESSOAr, the Earth and Space Science Open Archive. This pilot program has been deemed a success, with 30% of authors opting to post their new submission at ESSOAr. AGU is now expanding this option to be available for all 22 of its journals. Here’s a fun graphic I made with the journals to which a space physicist might submit a manuscript.
I highly encourage you to click this little button the next time that you are submitting to an AGU journal. Also, I highly encourage you to sign up for regular content alerts from ESSOAr, which will allow you to see the latest from your colleagues, even before it is officially published.
Preprint servers have benefits for scientific advancement, but remember the warnings about them, too. The biggest warning is that preprint servers are not a replacement for peer-reviewed journals because anything can be posted there. Well, not quite anything, there is an advisory board that does a light screening for topic-appropriate content, but this group does not rigorously examine the study. That’s the job of the journal editor and the reviewers who provide assessments of the work. While the preprint server can help speed up the flow of scientific discovery, it cannot replace the vetting done by a reputable peer-reviewed journal. In general, do not cite an older preprint at such a server (say, more than a year old), but instead cite the accepted and published version of that work once it makes it into a journal. If it does not have a published companion version in a peer-reviewed journal within a year of posting on a preprint server, then please ignore that preprint.
That is, using preprint servers requires community buy-in to the concept that such papers are not “real” papers yet, but only “extra-early view” versions of a work that might change significantly before reaching the version of record in a peer-reviewed journal. In fact, it might never reach that level. Preprint servers issue a DOI to every approved submission, so they become “permanently” accessible on the web, but we have to know that old preprints without a version in a peer-reviewed journal should be ignored.
That said, I think that they provide a net benefit to the community. I hope that you do, too.