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Responsible coverage of coronavirus preprint research

04/30/20     ,

April 30, 2 p.m. ET

It’s virtually impossible to report on the coronavirus/COVID-19 pandemic and not have come across preprints. These scientific studies and research papers are published on preprint servers, primarily bioRxiv and medRxiv, before the papers have been peer-reviewed and published in a medical journal. Preprint servers do have a basic level of review before papers are hosted, but the idea is that the scientific community at large can see the research and ask questions or point out limitations that give authors a chance to consider that feedback on the way to peer-reviewed publication. AHCJ’s panel of experts will discuss what preprints are, why they exist, how they fit into the scientific research ecosystem, and how to cover them responsibly for the general public, particularly during the pandemic.

  • John Inglis, Ph.D., executive director, Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press

  • Ivan Oransky, M.D., president of AHCJ, co-founder of Retraction Watch, vice president of editorial at Medscape, and Distinguished Writer in Residence at New York University’s Carter Journalism Institute

  • Angela Rasmussen, Ph.D., associate research scientist in virology, Columbia University School of Public Health

  • Moderator: Tara Haelle, AHCJ core topic leader/medical studies

Ivan Oransky, M.D., earned his bachelor’s degree at Harvard University, where he was executive editor of The Harvard Crimson, and he received his medical degree at the New York University of School of Medicine, where he holds an appointment as clinical assistant professor of medicine. In 2015, he was awarded the John P. McGovern Award for excellence in biomedical communication from the American Medical Writers Association, and in 2017, he received an honorary doctorate of civil laws from The University of the South (Sewanee). Oransky was vice president and global editorial director of MedPage Today, executive editor of Reuters Health, managing editor, online, of Scientific American and deputy editor of The Scientist.

Angela Rasmussen, Ph.D., is a virologist studying host responses to infection by combining classical virology with modern systems biology approaches. Her research objectives are to identify host response signatures predictive of infection severity or disease outcome and host pathways to target drug development or repurposing. She is particularly interested in viruses that are highly pathogenic, newly emergent or likely to emerge because of climate change, land development, or ecological disruption.

John Inglis, Ph.D., graduated from Edinburgh University Medical School with a doctorate in immunology and soon afterwards joined the editorial staff of the weekly medical journal The Lancet. Three years later, he founded the monthly review journal, Immunology Today (now Trends in Immunology) and edited it for seven years while launching and managing other journals. In 1987, Ingles came to the United States to found Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press. Ingles also co-founded and manages bioRxiv, a service of the Laboratory launched in 2013 that is the largest source of preprints of research papers in the life sciences, and medRxiv, a preprint server for health sciences that was launched in June 2019.


John Inglis


Ivan Oransky


Angela Rasmussen


Tara Haelle