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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?

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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.

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  • 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 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 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 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 at 12:48

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