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I just submitted a manuscript to a journal that uses the ScholarOne Submission system. There was the option to agree that the manuscript will be published as a preprint on Authorea. It says:

New! Preprint your manuscript while it's under review This journal is piloting the under review service, powered by Authorea—Wiley’s new initiative to streamline the early sharing of research and open up the peer review process.

The first submission of your manuscript will be imported by Authorea after the initial submission screening is completed, prior to peer review. Preprint posting on Authorea is a free, optional service and will not impact the editorial decision or time to publication at the journal.

By opting in, you agree to share submission metadata, including email address(es), with Authorea and to the terms. An Authorea account will be created for all authors. Preprints are assigned a DOI and are therefore a citable, permanent part of the scholarly record; once opted in, you cannot change your selection at later stages of the publication process or if your manuscript is rejected by the journal. Learn more at the under review FAQ.

  • Would you like to make your research publicly available as a preprint on Authorea?

Yes! Please preprint my manuscript

No, I do not want to participate

So I selected yes assuming that the manuscript will only be published as preprint if it went through the initial submission checks (i.e. is going to be reviewed).

The manuscript got published as a preprint a few days after submission. But a week after submission it got the rejection notice without any review. This was not what I expected to happen. I would have preferred to revise the manuscript in the case of a desk rejection before publishing it as preprint.

Now I am a bit puzzled about what could possibly have happened. Did I misunderstand the statements explaining the process? Is this how such things are usually handled? Or do you think that something went wrong in the editorial process?

I would really be interested if someone else experienced something similar. In any case, in the future I will definitely handle preprint publishing myself instead of using such "services".

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    I think the misunderstanding here is that "initial submission screening" probably just means checking that all the required parts of the paper have been uploaded correctly, have been correctly typeset by Latex, etc. Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 11:45

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Yes, you misunderstood. This is exactly how preprints work.

You decide when your work is at a stage where the rest of the world should see it. That's when you post your work on a preprint server. This decision is made by you independent of any editors or reviewers.

The confusion here comes from the fact that the publisher of the journal is also providing a preprint server. But this is done to make things convenient for authors (and to promote their own preprint server) not to mix editorial decisions with preprint uploads.

Note, if you really don't want your work to appear on their preprint server you might be able to ask them nicely and explain that you misunderstood. Even though you signed the paperwork they might reasonably let you of the hook. (I don't think they have to, but that's a legal question and for another site.)

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    Note, if you want to post on a preprint server that is not associated with a publisher, here are some of the main ones in the sciences: biorxiv.org (Biology) medrxiv.org (Health sciences) arxiv.org (Physics, mathematics, computer science, quantitative biology, quantitative finance, statistics, electrical engineering and systems science, and economics) chemrxiv.org (Chemistry). Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 12:51
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    The preprint already got quite some attention and is in the systems of researchgate and google scholar. So, I think the consequences of removing it now are worse than having it published in the current state. Anyway, I cannot get rid of the feeling that I was somehow tricked into publishing it there. Although I know that I shouldn't have agreed to the terms. Do you see any pros/cons with also publishing it on another preprint server such as bioarxiv.org? My motivation to do this is to have it published in a place where most preprints of my field are published. Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 13:11
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    @HansJürgen I agree that you got tricked. The same way one gets tricked into "buy one get one free offers" by sales persons and realizing only afterwards that one overpaid because one didn't actually want the second item... As for your question: it is not generally recommended to post on multiple preprint sites. But it's also not the end of the world. If you do that make sure the versions are identical / updated in sync in order to avoid confusion (you can add updated versions to preprint servers such as bioarxiv and Authorea). Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 13:32
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    @HansJürgen Note, that you can curate your google scholar profile to exclude particular "publications" that it finds for you. So that by itself is not necessarily an issue. Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 13:34
  • Publishing is all about control. The cynic in me thinks that Wiley doesn't like the fact that the popularity of ArXiv has spread outside the "hardcore nerd, do everything in LaTeX" sciences and that they might lose their gatekeeping function as a result. So, they're incentivised for you to use their pre-print service and as a consequence push Authorea in your general direction.
    – Landak
    Commented Nov 8, 2022 at 23:28

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