When reading through a preprint article (which are often the most accessible versions of articles), I for various reasons want to determine whether there has been an officially published version of the article: for example for (1) a more official source to cite, (2) a more edited and cleaned up version of the preprint.

Often, I run into difficulties when searching for an officially published version: (1) the title may have changed slightly or dramatically, (2) an additional co-author may have been added, etc.

Question: What method should be used to find the (or whether there is a) published version of a preprint. Is the DOI helpful? If so, how is it used?

  • 1
    Why not just ask the author?
    – Buffy
    Jul 11, 2022 at 20:03
  • For arXiv, see academia.stackexchange.com/q/158413/17254
    – Anyon
    Jul 12, 2022 at 0:22
  • 4
    Beware that sometimes it is the preprint version that is better and more up-to-date than the journal version. Updating a preprint is easy, updating a journal article is hard. Jul 12, 2022 at 7:03

2 Answers 2


You can sometimes find it in the article's metadata (to be accessed via the preprint's DOI).

An example:


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At SocArXiv, you can find the same information at the preprint's page in the right margin; here's a screenshot:

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The same is true with all the other preprint servers at OSF (MetaArXiv, MediArXiv, AfricArXiv, etc.)

At ArXiv, you can find the published DOI in the "Related DOI" field; here is an example from https://arxiv.org/abs/1905.07141:

enter image description here

Note that this "linking" of preprint DOIs to the peer-reviewed publications' DOIs only works if it is done manually by the authors (or if an automatic metadata extraction, as ArXiv does, succeeded in finding the links); cf. How to add DOI to the published version of an article in arXiv?.


This probably depends on the field and the preprint service. For example, medrxiv and biorxiv assign a DOI to the initial preprint and maintain it for subsequent versions. (They also discourage preprint submission to other services.) When you search by DOI or open a preprint link, the service would show a link to the latest version. Shortly after the preprint appears online in a journal, the service will display a link to the publication. In other cases, e.g., personal websites, the authors would hopefully deposit the latest version. Also, Google Scholar usually has all the versions.

An issue that I've had is that preprint title, content, statistical results, etc, can change between versions. So what you refer to in an early version may be different or absent in later versions, particularly in a journal publication with many edits.

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