Also I think something is often missing about the rhetoric around pre-prints.

People think that a "rough draft" means ok, well people change the language and stuff before it's public! NBD.

Oh no. nononononono
In the case of some, the very best most polished papers, maybe yes, changes are very minor after peer review.

But most of the time? They are anything but. Scientists often have to change things like the stats. Which changes the final NUMBERS. Which changes the CONCLUSION.
In many cases (I've been through peer review, believe me, I know), the request isn't even to change your existing data. It's to do more.

More experiments. More controls. More data.

More more more.

Revisions frequently take a YEAR.
So when you see pre-prints described as "a rough draft," you've got to redefine that in your head. A pre-print is much more than a rough draft. It can be weeks, months or YEARS out from final publication.

The final paper can end up with entirely different interpretations!
So when you read about a pre-print, think of it like...bread after the first rise (for all you COVID bakers out there).

Signs are there. But there's still SO FREAKIN MUCH ROOM for things to go pear-shaped.
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