ISSN Online: 2177-1235 | ISSN Print: 1983-5175
With the need to streamline the dissemination of research data at critical times to global health, the publication of scientific findings without critical peer review has gained ground. The use of the information, mainly by the lay press, has been done in a non-critical way, with interpretations that are often inadequate and potentially dangerous. An article submitted in a preprint repository can even be an unfinished article, still in data collection and interpretation1,2. Many repositories deliberately accept studies and there is a need for a minimum of scrutiny by scientific entities, including to assist in the interpretation of what one wishes to disclose3.
Accelerated disclosure of sensitive data can be really effective, but it is highly dependent on ethical and diligent attitudes. It is unlikely to believe that the entire population acts in this desirable manner, unfortunately. Human nature is so; if this were not a real fact, we could abstain, from research ethics committees, anti-plagiarism checks, peer review, or even from editorial scientific commissions.
The reality, quite different, requires a critical analysis of scientific entities not involved in a study, so that it can have the expected credibility. The information obtained and its interpretation depend on a number of bias factors. Many of these are not even perceived or have the intentionality on the part of those who carry out the research. As is common for those who write, when rereading our texts, we often go through an automatism that opens escapes for the perpetuation of errors in spelling, interpretation and scientific processes, which can occur by simple distraction. In a next step, the desire to obtain favorable results can lead to a biased interpretation of the information. Finally, it is undeniable the existence of interpretations purposely deviated from the scientific norm, which must be formally restrained.
We have not reduced the importance of preprint repositories, but this must be considered under strict criticism, while authors must be aware of and clearly inform readers about the risks involved in interpreting the information3.
How can a scientific journal help accelerate the dissemination of peer-reviewed information? The answer already exists: friendly submission and review processes, active committee of reviewers with strictly respected deadline goals, real-time publications on the internet, approved articles already available immediately (so-called ahead of print articles). RBCP has devoted maximum effort to obtaining these criteria, in order to offer current, quality and scientifically based information.
2. Pessanha PG. Observatório de evidências científicas COVID-19. Notícias rápidas ou notícias falsas? As vantagens e as armadilhas da publicação rápida através de servidores de preprints durante uma pandemia [Internet]. Brasília (DF): Instituto Brasileiro de Informação em Ciência e Tecnologia (IBICT); 2021 Mar;10. Disponível em: http://evidenciascovid19.ibict.br/index.php/2020/08/14/o-que-sao-preprints-de-pesquisas-e-qual-a-sua-confiabilidade/
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