eLife’s New Model: A statement from our board | Inside eLife | eLife

“In response to a Nature News Feature published March 17, eLife’s Board of Directors has issued the following letter of support for our new publishing model and leadership: …


The decision to evolve eLife to the new publishing model was made by eLife’s board. It was not a decision made by any individual employee of eLife. At the board’s behest, the staff of eLife and members of the editorial team have worked hard over several years – and continue to do so today – to make this transition possible….

A key decision was to evolve eLife itself, rather than experiment with a new journal….”

A suggestion for eLife

“I have a simple suggestion for how to counteract such a concern, and that is that the journal should adopt a different criterion for deciding which papers to review – this should be done solely on the basis of the introduction and methods, without any knowledge of the results. Editors could also be kept unaware of the identity of authors.


If eLife wants to achieve a distinctive reputation for quality, it could do so by only taking forward to review those articles that have identified an interesting question and tackled it with robust methodology. It’s well-known that editors and reviewers tend to be strongly swayed by novel and unexpected results, and will disregard methodological weaknesses if the findings look exciting. If authors had to submit a results-blind version of the manuscript in the first instance, then I predict that the initial triage by editors would look rather different.  The question for the editor would no longer be one about the kind of review the paper would generate, but would focus rather on whether this was a well-conducted study that made the editor curious to know what the results would look like.  The papers that subsequently appeared in eLife would look different to those in its high-profile competitors, such as Nature and Science, but in a good way.  Those ultra-exciting but ultimately implausible papers would get filtered out, leaving behind only those that could survive being triaged solely on rationale and methods.”

Chefs de Cuisine: Perspectives from Publishing’s Top Table – Alison Mudditt – The Scholarly Kitchen

“I believe that we’re finally at a tipping point not only for open access, but for a transformation to open research more broadly. Throughout the pandemic, we’ve seen global scientific collaboration on an unprecedented scale: results were shared immediately, and online sharing became the norm. It’s hard to make a moral case that other diseases or crises don’t deserve the same urgency. Support has been steadily building for years across national and international governments, agencies and funders. And now a growing voice of scientists and science organizations have joined them. Just one example: in a recent report, the International Science Council found the current system of scientific publishing to be failing in its ability to deliver on any of the core principles which affirm the record of science.

Critically, many of us are focused on how we can make the transition to open research in ways that embrace diversity and foster equity from the start. It’s been a fundamental failing of the “old” system and I’m relieved to see that an increasing number of us understand that tweaking that system just won’t do, and that more fundamental change is needed. With this comes the opportunity to rethink what gets shared and when, and how it gets both assessed and credited. It’s an incredible opportunity to build a system that better serves both science and scientists. While there are clearly systemic changes needed in the incentive and reward systems in academia, our work at PLOS demonstrates that meaningful progress can be made by pushing on elements of the current system….”

Strife at eLife: inside a journal’s quest to upend science publishing

“Last October, the pioneering life-sciences journal eLife introduced bold changes to its editorial practice — which some researchers applauded as reimagining the purpose of a scientific journal. From 31 January this year, eLife said, it would publish every paper it sent out for peer review: authors would never again receive a rejection after a negative review. Instead, reviewers’ reports would be published alongside the paper, together with a short editorial assessment of the work’s significance and rigour. Authors could then decide whether to revise their paper to address any comments.

The change followed an earlier decision by eLife to require that all submissions be posted as preprints online. The cumulative effect was to turn eLife into a producer of public reviews and assessments about online research. It was “relinquishing the traditional journal role of gatekeeper”, editor-in-chief Michael Eisen explained in a press release, and “promoting the evaluation of scientists based on what, rather than where, they publish”….”

A new approach to peer review or scholarly publishing – 2023 – Journal of Food Science – Wiley Online Library

“In last month’s column, I spoke about preprint sites as a possible future direction of note for our journals. At the end of that editorial, I said I would talk about eLife since this journal is doing several things quite different, some of which may be of interest to JFS….

eLife editors argue that the “new model combines the immediacy and openness of preprints with the scrutiny of peer review by experts.” Will this approach to scholarly publication take root? There are certainly some interesting concepts for us to consider….”

View of What is the Future of Preprint Peer Review?

“Another organization that is blurring the lines between preprint review and journals is eLife. eLife is an open access journal funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), the Wellcome Trust, and the Max Planck Society. It has required all authors to post preprints since 2020 but recently took the bold step of re-defining itself as a peer review service: eLife no longer accepts or rejects papers it considers; it simply peer reviews them and posts the reports online alongside the preprint.7 PLOS Biology has also experimented with preprint peer review by asking editors to consider both formal peer reviews and unsolicited comments on bioRxiv preprints they are considering for publication.

Preprint peer review thus encompasses a spectrum of activities from informal commenting to new services that can augment or potentially displace journals in the research ecosystem. Perhaps most significantly it prompts us to consider what peer review is and what it should be. Journal peer review is currently mostly concentrated among a small fraction of senior scientists who are overloaded and not representative of the global potential reviewer pool. ECRs are not often involved, nor are scientists from the Global South. Preprint peer review provides an opportunity to involve a more diverse sample of the scientific community. Increasing the representation of researchers from marginalized groups and the Global South in the review of clinical research could boost fields like neglected tropical diseases and socio-economic determinants of health. And since decoupled review is not exclusive or restricted to a single point in time, it could provide the basis for a new, more multi-dimensional approach to the evaluation of scientific research…”

How open access diamond journals comply with industry standards exemplified by Plan S technical requirements

Abstract:  Purpose: This study investigated how well current open access (OA) diamond journals in the Directory of Open Access Journals (DOAJ) and a survey conform to Plan S requirements, including licenses, peer review, author copyright, unique article identifiers, digital archiving, and machine-readable licenses.

Method: Data obtained from DOAJ journals and surveyed journals from mid-June to mid-July 2020 were analyzed for a variety of Plan S requirements. The results were presented using descriptive statistics.

Results: Out of 1,465 journals that answered, 1,137 (77.0%) reported compliance with the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE) principles. The peer review types used by OA diamond journals were double-blind (6,339), blind (2,070), peer review (not otherwise specified, 1,879), open peer review (42), and editorial review (118) out of 10,449 DOAJ journals. An author copyright retention policy was adopted by 5,090 out of 10,448 OA diamond journals (48.7%) in DOAJ. Of the unique article identifiers, 5,702 (54.6%) were digital object identifiers, 58 (0.6%) were handles, and 14 (0.1%) were uniform resource names, while 4,675 (44.7%) used none. Out of 1,619 surveyed journals, the archiving solutions were national libraries (n=170, 10.5%), Portico (n=67, 4.1%), PubMed Central (n=15, 0.9%), PKP PN (n=91, 5.6%), LOCKSS (n=136, 8.4%), CLOCKSS (n=87, 5.4%), the National Computing Center for Higher Education (n=6, 0.3%), others (n=69, 4.3%), no policy (n=855, 52.8%), and no reply (n=123, 7.6%). Article-level metadata deposition was done by 8,145 out of 10,449 OA diamond journals (78.0%) in DOAJ.

Conclusion: OA diamond journals’ compliance with industry standards exemplified by the Plan S technical requirements was insufficient, except for the peer review type.

The benefits of journal-independent open peer review | Research Information

“I launched PeerRef in late 2021 to address some of the problems with peer review. At PeerRef, we organise open peer review of preprints and publish reviewer reports on our platform. We aim to make peer review open, provide researchers with more choice in how their research is shared and evaluated, and eliminate the need for repeated peer review in successive journals….

A benefit of journal-independent peer review is that a reviewer does not consider whether a piece of research is suitable for a specific journal, nor do they act as a journal gatekeeper. This puts the rigour and validity of the research at the centre of the assessment and allows the reviewer to focus on constructive feedback. I believe this will increase the quality of feedback, making peer review more useful to authors….

Momentum is growing around journal-independent peer review of preprints. eLife has created Sciety, which aggregates peer reviewed preprints and allows anyone to curate lists of reviewed preprints. JMIR is also supporting journal-independent peer review with their Plan P initiative. Funders are in support of journal-independent peer review. In 2022 cOAlition S made the statement that they consider peer reviewed preprints to have equivalent merit to peer-reviewed journal publications. HHMI, ASAPbio and EMBO recently organised a meeting between funders, publishers, researchers, and peer review platforms with the aim of creating funder, institutional, and journal policies for the peer review of preprints. Several resources have resulted from that meeting, which ASAPbio have posted on their website. All funders and publishers can help drive this change by establishing policies that recognise and encourage journal-independent peer review….”

Tackling overpublishing by moving to open-ended papers | Nature Materials

“Regarding the future of publishing, we suggest that its current rapid expansion should result in a phase transition, eventually offering new opportunities for research communication. A fast evolution towards data and code sharing, open-access publishing and the widespread use of preprints seems to be just the beginning. Below we outline our view on the paradigm shift in publishing that we think will benefit the scientific community.

First, we can make it easy to track scientific progress and reduce overpublishing by moving to open-ended and stackable publications instead of publishing multiple papers for each research direction. For example, instead of ten papers published on one line of research, a scientist can prepare a single study where each piece (‘chapter’) can be stacked with or inserted into the previous piece. A similar approach is implemented on Github where codes can be updated and expanded; or on Jupyter where the data, analysis and text can be published on a single page (with more chapters being added as the study develops further). Importantly, Jupyter notebooks are free and do not charge for open access as most publishers do, pointing towards a possible solution for reduced publishing fees….”

Experimenting with open science practices at the STI 2023 conference – Leiden Madtrics

“As organizers of the STI 2023 conference, we introduce two open science experiments: We adopt a new publication and peer review process and we invite authors of conference contributions to reflect on their open science practices.

The adoption of open science practices has become a prominent topic of study for the science studies community. However, the research practices of the community itself are still quite traditional. While open access publishing, preprinting, open peer review, open data sharing, and other open science practices are gradually becoming more common in the science studies community, the adoption of these practices is still at a relatively low level.

Given the community’s deep understanding of the research system, we think we should be able to do a better job. As organizers of this year’s Science, Technology and Innovation Indicators conference (STI 2023), we therefore introduce two open science experiments: We adopt a new publication and peer review process, fully aligned with state-of-the-art open science practices, and we invite authors of contributions submitted to the conference to reflect on their own open science practices….”

Open Peer Reviewers in Africa: A Train-of-Trainer Program pilot recap | 15 FEBRUARY 2023

“Over the past 18 months, AfricArXiv, Eider Africa, eLife, PREreview, and the Training Centre in Communication Africa (TCC Africa) have collaborated to develop a peer-review training workshop called Open Peer Reviewers in Africa, tailored to the region-specific context of African researchers. Together we co-created and openly shared tools and strategies for scholarly literature evaluation, and trained the first cohort of 11 African researchers. With this blog post we aim to summarize the fruits of this collaboration, and highlight the profile and work of the 5 trainees who have moved on to be open peer review trainers themselves….”

Inaccuracy in the Scientific Record and Open Postpublication Critique – Chris R. Brewin, 2023

Abstract:  There is growing evidence that the published psychological literature is marred by multiple errors and inaccuracies and often fails to reflect the changing nature of the knowledge base. At least four types of error are common—citation error, methodological error, statistical error, and interpretation error. In the face of the apparent inevitability of these inaccuracies, core scientific values such as openness and transparency require that correction mechanisms are readily available. In this article, I reviewed standard mechanisms in psychology journals and found them to have limitations. The effects of more widely enabling open postpublication critique in the same journal in addition to conventional peer review are considered. This mechanism is well established in medicine and the life sciences but rare in psychology and may assist psychological science to correct itself.


PeerJ at 10: now ALL PeerJ articles will be published with their entire peer review history – PeerJ Blog

“Since PeerJ’s launch 10 years ago we have championed Open Peer Review by offering authors the option to publish their peer review reports (“Published Peer Review” or “Open Reports”). We believe that Published Peer Review leads to a more constructive and collegial process; that the reviewer reports and editorial decisions constitute an important part of the scientific record; and they provide a way for reviewers (if they choose) and editors to be publicly credited for their important contribution. 

Since we launched, the majority of authors have chosen to publish their peer review history in its entirety; we have published the peer review reports and editor decisions of over 9,800 articles, equating to around 60% of our total output. Published Peer Review has not, however, become the “norm” as we had hoped.

The 12th February 2023 marks an important milestone for PeerJ, as it will be 10 years since we published our first articles. It will also be the last day that new submissions will be presented with an option to publish their peer review history in full.

From February 13th onwards, ALL new submissions, if accepted for publication, will have their peer review reports and decision letters published alongside the article….”