Digital scholarship and electronic publishing within scholarly communities change when metrics and open infrastructures take center stage for measuring research impact. In scholarly communication, the growth of preprint repositories as a new model of scholarly publishing over the last three decades has been one of the major developments. As it unfolds, the landscape of scholarly communication is transitioning—with much being privatized as it is made open—and turning towards alternative metrics, such as social media attention, author-level, and article-level metrics. Moreover, the granularity of evaluating research impact through new metrics and social media changes the objective standards of evaluating research performance. Using preprint repositories as a case study, this article situates them in a scholarly web, examining their salient features, benefits, and futures. Moves towards scholarly web development and publishing on the semantic and social web with open infrastructures, citations, and alternative metrics—how preprints advance building the web as data—is discussed. We determine that this will viably demonstrate new metrics and, by enhancing research publishing tools in the scholarly commons, facilitate various communities of practice. However, for preprint repositories to be sustainable, scholarly communities and funding agencies should support continued investment in open knowledge, alternative metrics development, and open infrastructures in scholarly publishing.
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