eLife: My Q&A with Editor-in-Chief Randy Schekman

abernard102@gmail.com 2012-06-25


Use the link to access the transcript of the interview introduced as follows: “... there has been an impact shift from solo to team-authored papers in science and engineering (Wuchty, Jones, Uzzi, Science 2007). This inevitably has led to a more nuanced and laborious review process that depends now more than ever on the opinion of experts. The opaque, tedious and lengthy review process at many journals leaves a lot to be desired (Kravitz and Baker, Front Comp Neurosci. 2011). Some of the new challenges of the review process include the rise of negative reviews due to the brutal competition for grants and jobs. And reviewer fatigue incurred by the high-stakes of glamour pubs (rejected papers win appeals, too many rounds of review, etc). The review process needs to evolve to provide greater transparency and to give the relevant scientific community a greater say. We are losing sight of what’s most important: that the value of a publication is determined by how it is received in its field. This natural process is being hijacked by the obsession with the faulty metric of journal impact factor (http://arxiv.org/abs/1205.4328). Enter eLife: an open access journal for scientists and by scientists. The idea to launch this project stemmed from the widespread opinion that scientists want other scientists to have full control of the peer-review process (see poll below)... eLife’s goal is to capture high-impact research... The journal has attracted a stellar team of scientists including Senior Editors with extensive editorial experience who will maintain editorial consistency across all fields. One of eLife’s innovations is a unique online discussion between the Review Editor and referees. This process will culminate in an editorial decision letter with a clear road map of what needs to be done. Editorially, eLife’s goal is to provide a rigorous, timely and transparent peer-review process. Another eLife innovation is that editors and referees will be compensated for their time. This will initially be achieved thanks to the financial support of 3 private foundations: the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Wellcome Trust, and the Max Planck Society. As a scientist concerned about current practices and interested in the future of publishing, I was excited to learn more about eLife. I contacted Dr. Randy Schekman (eLife’s editor-in-chief, former editor-in-chief at PNAS, and Berkeley professor) with questions from the skeptics...”




08/16/2012, 06:08

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Date tagged:

06/25/2012, 15:13

Date published:

06/25/2012, 15:37