Scientific Publishing: The first year of a new era | eLife

peter.suber's bookmarks 2024-02-29


"One year ago, eLife made a radical change to the way that articles submitted to the journal were handled. Previously articles that had been selected for peer review were either accepted or rejected at the end of the review process. That all changed in January 2023: in future an article selected for peer review would be published on the eLife website as a Reviewed Preprint that included an eLife Assessment, Public Reviews and a response from the authors (if available). The eLife Assessment would be written by the editor and the reviewers, using a common vocabulary to summarise the significance of the findings and the strength of the evidence reported in the article. Moreover, we would continue to only review articles that were available as preprints. One of our aims was to give authors more control over the publication process (Eisen et al., 2022).

A lot has happened over the past year but, for us, the highlights have been that thousands of authors have put their trust in these new publishing ideas, and that our editors and reviewers have invested their time and energy to make the new system work. Together we have shown that a system can succeed in which scientific decisions are rich and nuanced; where a reviewer’s job is to comment on the science, not defend the journal’s name; and where authors can engage in discussions with reviewers without fear of having to start again. Convincing the wider research community – notably grant, hiring and tenure panels – of the many benefits of this approach is now a priority for eLife.

It is perhaps worth remembering that when we went public with our plans, there were predictions in every direction. Some thought that our new publishing model was too risky and that authors would not submit their work. Others were sure that we would be flooded with low-quality articles – or that the opposite would happen and that only those researchers who had the most confidence in their work would submit to us. There were also worries that editors and reviewers would not want to be involved in a system where there was no accept/reject decision and where authors were under no obligation to revise the article in response to comments from reviewers.

A year on, the reality is a lot more encouraging. We received more than 6200 submissions to the new model in its first year of operation, with last month (January 2024) being the best to date. About a third of these have been reviewed in depth, which is comparable with the fraction selected for review under our previous model, and we estimate (based on the ratings for significance and strength of evidence) that the quality of submissions has not changed significantly. More information is available in this Inside eLife post on the first year of the new approach...."


From feeds:

Open Access Tracking Project (OATP) » peter.suber's bookmarks

Tags: oa.elife oa.preprints oa.peer_review oa.open_peer_review oa.business_models oa.journals

Date tagged:

02/29/2024, 13:39

Date published:

02/29/2024, 08:39