Popular Preprint Servers Face Closure Because of Money Troubles


The rise of preprint repositories has helped scientists worldwide to share results and get feedback quickly. But several platforms that serve researchers in emerging economies are struggling to raise money to stay afloat. One, which hosts research from Indonesia, has decided to close because of this funding shortfall. From a report: INA-Rxiv, which was set up in 2017, was one of the first repositories to host studies from a particular region. Previous platforms served specific disciplines: for example, arXiv, the original preprint repository, hosts physical-sciences research, and bioRxiv is a popular repository for biology studies. Other region or language-specific repositories followed, including ArabiXiv, which hosts Arabic-language research; AfricArxiv and IndiaRxiv. Managers of these repositories say they increase exposure for research from the regions, and facilitate collaborations. INA-Rxiv, ArabiXiv, AfricArxiv and IndiaRxiv are run by volunteers around the world, but the servers are hosted online by the non-profit Center for Open Science (COS), based in Charlottesville, Virginia. The centre's platform hosts 26 repositories, including more than a dozen that are discipline-specific. In December 2018, the COS informed repository managers that from 2020, it would be introducing fees, charged to repository managers, to cover maintenance costs. The charges, which were finalized last December, start at about US$1,000 a year, and increase as repositories' annual submissions grow. The costs can be significant, particularly for repositories run by volunteers in emerging economies.