A new publishing model from eLife: It’s all about peer review

eLife decided to end accept/reject decisions following peer review, opting to emphasise the public peer review of preprints, restoring author autonomy and promoting the assessment of scientists based on what rather than where they publish.

Starting from 31 January 2023, eLife will publish every paper it reviews as a Reviewed Preprint, a new type of research output that combines the manuscript with eLife’s detailed peer reviews and a concise assessment of the significance of the findings and quality of evidence, according to the press release.         

Expert reviewers will be invited by eLife to carry out high-quality peer review that highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the work. They will provide an assessment capturing their view of the significance of the findings and evaluating the strength of the evidence. These reviews will be written in language accessible to a non-expert reader, although it is not specified exactly who would be a “non-expert reader”.

Authors will have the option to submit a revised preprint that responds to public reviews and private suggestions make by the reviewers. A new Reviewed Preprint with updated reviews and assessment will then be published by eLife.

The cost to authors will be reduced from $3,000 to $2,000, which will cover the costs of all rounds of peer review, the production of Reviewed Preprints and further steps. The fee is waived for those who cannot afford to pay it.

Emily Packer, Media Relations Manager, eLife, in response to questions, said that the public reviews stem from a consultative review process between reviewers and editors. Descriptions of the strengths and weaknesses will use controlled vocabulary terms. One aim, aside from being transparent and speeding up the publishing process, is for eLife to have consistency in its reviewing process and bear responsibility for the quality of the reviews and assessment provided.

The Scientist weighed in with its opinion in an interview with eLife Executive Director Damian Pattinson. Times Higher Education was more critical, saying the move would hurt science. 

More information about eLife's new publishing model is here .  

Read more about the process for authors here.