Biorxiv offers the possibility to transfer an article uploaded as a preprint to a peer-reviewed journal. An increasing number of journals are available for this transfer service.

I tried to find more information on how this transfer works but there's not much information on the Biorxiv website. Before I use this service I would like to have more details. For example, I would like to know when do we upload a cover letter or suggest reviewers. It seems that once the article is transferred it appears in the author's home page on the publisher side but how can this transfer be complete without filling the other information usually asked during submission?

Has anyone tried this service?

2 Answers 2


I'm answering as a cofounder of bioRxiv. The manuscript transfer service you're interested is referred to as "bioRxiv-to-journal" or B2J. It's available to any corresponding author who has posted a preprint to bioRxiv. The author has a choice of journals - over 200 right now, with more to come. They are listed in a drop-down menu and the author simply clicks on her choice. This automatically transfers the manuscript to the submission system of the selected journal. The author gets a confirming email of receipt from the journal concerned. Nothing else other than the manuscript can be transferred. If the journal wants anything else (cover letter, suggested reviewers etc) they follow up with the author concerned. I hope that clarifies the process.

  • Thank you for your answer but it's still somewhat unclear how this works from the publisher side. The cover letter is one of the most important parts in a submission. Does this mean that the editor will look at the article and later ask for a cover letter? This seems backward. Perhaps someone who works on the publisher side can also answer this question. Oct 20, 2021 at 9:39
  • I'd question the assertion that cover letters are one of the most important parts of the submission. Indeed, I suspect 70% of cover letters are never read. Oct 20, 2021 at 12:24
  • @IanSudbery do you have any evidence of that? The few editors I interacted with suggested that cover letters are important. Maybe not in your field. Oct 20, 2021 at 18:29
  • More than 16,000 manuscripts have been transferred through B2J without cover letters. The overall publication rate for bioRxiv preprints is 70% 2 years after posting and they've appeared in more than 3000 journals. B2J manuscripts are published at a similar rate, suggesting that the absence of a cover letter etc is not a significant handicap. Oct 21, 2021 at 12:48

I was also concerned my cover letter would not be viewed by the editors. Upon transferring my preprint via bioRxiv to PLOS Biology I quickly recieved an email from PLOS Biology asking me to provide the specific things they require at submission, including the cover letter:

Thank you for choosing to transfer your manuscript entitled “X” to PLOS Biology. We have now received the transfer and would like to ask that you read and follow the instructions below carefully in order to complete submission.

Before your submission is sent for editorial consideration, we are putting its editing under your control so that you can make any appropriate changes since its last submission. In particular, as PLOS Biology has some slightly different editorial requirements, we would appreciate it if you could make the following minor changes:

Enter a full (manuscript) Title Change the Section/Category to 'Initial Research Submission' Copy in your abstract Complete all required sections of the Additional >Information tab Attach a cover letter addressed to PLOS Biology When you are ready to submit your manuscript, please "approve" the submission. After a short check of essential technical items, it will then be sent for editorial consideration.

Instructions to access your account:

If you have not previously held a PLOS Biology Editorial Manager account, then the action of transferring will have created one for you.


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