Preprint Open Access

Amenders Assemble!

Young, Iris D.; Fraser, James S.

A recent publication by Croll and coworkers, “Improving SARS-CoV-2 structures: Peer review by early coordinate release” (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33460600/), describes a unique form of peer-review enabled by the early release of biomolecular structure coordinates and density maps and details its critical role in the search for SARS-CoV-2 vaccines and treatments. The authors walk us through identification and remediation of model pathologies in seven preprints, describing what problems they identified, what tools allowed them to make these discoveries, how each of these could have been missed by the original authors during refinement, and how the corrections were subsequently disseminated to the structural biology community. While correcting other people's work is naturally a delicate topic, this paper carefully and convincingly lays out the arguments for both the publication of flawed initial models and their timely correction. Hopefully this demonstration of the potential of preprint and post-publication peer review inspires similar efforts.

This piece is an editorial highlighting the recent publication "Improving SARS-CoV-2 structures: Peer review by early coordinate release" (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/33460600/).
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