Feature request: Resolve limitations of Preprint item type for preprints at journal sites

Not sure if this problem has come up before. But I just hit again ...

The purpose of the Preprint item type is presumably to signify papers that have not been accepted/made available by a journal in their final publication form. Many of these are stored at preprint servers like arXiv (and in some fields, never move beyond that stage). However many preprints/'in press' papers are now posted at journal sites, prior to final publication.

Zotero by default will seemingly usually add that second type type of preprint as a Journal Article when downloaded by the Connector. The publication field will usually be filled. But volume/issue/pages may not be. As an example, this actual downloaded PDF is stamped 'journal preproof' on each page (as of January 30, 2024).

From the user's point of view, one usually wishes such preprints to be stored in Zotero in a way that signifies that they are not the final version PDF, nor do they have all the likely final metadata. So leaving them as Journal Article is not ideal. But when one attempts to change the item type to Preprint, one is informed that the following fields will be lost:
Journal Abbr

The loss of Publication is the main problem. So the only reasonable option I have found is to leave the item as Journal Article, but add my own 'preprint' tag.

It would be better if the Preprint type retained that existing information. So that's my Feature Request. An alternative would be a new item type, Journal Preprint (or Journal In Press) - there is some advantage to distinguishing these from preprint server papers, as they have been accepted for journal publication.

A bigger problem is some means for Zotero to find and update metadata when the final paper is finally available. I understand the general issue of updating metadata is on the devs' radar. But AFAIK there is no general system of journal alerts that notifies the transition of a paper from preprint/in-press to final publication. As it stands I have preprints (item types or tagged) as a Saved Search, and I occasionally remember to check if any have been finally published.
  • No, that's just a journal article with status: publication ahead of print (or if you want to use the "journal pre-proof" phrasing). It's been peer reviewed, it has it's final DOI, it's not going to change substantively -- this should just be cited like a journal article and style guides often explicitly say so.

    Updating article information automatically is a completely different topic and would definitely be useful for these cases (and has long been planned, as I understand)
  • edited January 30, 2024
    I didn't mention anything about citation - that's not the issue I raised. But citing it in Zotero is not completely straightforward when it's categorized simply as a Journal Article - see later.

    My main issue is that that categorization in my library is the same as a final article, when it's not. So I'm probably never going to remember to check for the final version, unless I add the 'preprint' tag and check for items tagged that way from time to time. Or if I do happen to cite it, and then notice that it has no volume/issue/page information.

    Parenthetically, citation is only one use for an academic literature library. While it's a very common use, people likely read items in their library far more often than they cite each individual item. I need to cite these days much less than I used to. I use Create Bibliography From Item more often than the word processor plugin. If I do that for the example paper in APA7 I get ...
    Ihsan, A. F., van Horssen, W. T., & Tuwankotta, J. M. (2024). On string vibrations influenced by a smooth obstacle at one of the endpoints. Journal of Sound and Vibration, 118311. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jsv.2024.118311

    A quick google suggests that APA requires more than that for such 'non-final' items, which presumably Zotero can't provide, because it doesn't appear to store that information AFAIK.

    A quick google also suggests that CSL allows for such information:
    Publication status of the item (e.g. “forthcoming”; “in press”; “advance online publication”; “retracted”)

    Can the Extra field deal with that information, if added manually ?

    In any case I feel that the article/PDF should be more accurately categorized at the item level ... because not doing so causes problems.

    I think I have mentioned before other limitations of the Journal Article item type, for example not dealing very well with detecting/storing the increasingly common Supplemental Materials. So a more sophisticated item type would seem to be needed. ;)
  • edited January 30, 2024
    The Supplemental Materials issue isn't really due to limitations of the Journal Article item type. For some sources, retrieving SI files is working just fine as far as I can tell.

    In my opinion, the problem is that there is no widely accepted standard for SI on publisher plateforms or in data sources such as Crossref (or not yet widely used). Thus there is no systematic method to identify the existence of SI files associated with an article, and each web translator needs to be tweaked accordingly. No matter how much more sophisticated the item type becomes, the problem will remain the same :-)
  • @tim820 see here (in chinese) https://github.com/l0o0/translators_CN/issues/257 ,

    已被接受还未印刷出版的论文在 extra 填写 Status: 印刷中(或者 in press)。
    网络首发(advance online publication)的预出版论文应在 date 留空,并在 extra 填写 available-date: yyyy-mm-dd\nStatus: advance online publication。
    只有论文编号而无页码的电子刊论文在 extra 填写 Number: xxxx。

    you should:

    Accepted papers that have not yet been published should be marked with "Status: in press" in extra.
    For advance online publication, leave date blank and add "available-date: yyyyy-mm-dd\nStatus: advance online publication" in extra.
    For e-journal papers with only a paper number but no page numbers, enter Number: xxxx in extra.
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