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A preprint is a draft of a scholarly article, made available online before it has gone through the formal peer-review process or been published by a scholarly journal. While preprints allow researchers to disseminate their findings more quickly, the lack of a formal peer-review process means that readers should be especially careful to evaluate the quality of the research. If the preprint is more than a month or two old, search for a final, published version of the article; your librarian can help with this!
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This is a pre-print and e-print archive of research papers in physics, engineering, mathematics, and computing. While many of the papers on the server are high quality, be aware that they are not peer-reviewed. ArXiv does moderate the submissions for relevance and appropriateness, and has recently implemented and endorsement system for some submissions. However, this is not the same as peer-review.