Cell, Science, Nature…. and… eLife?

My better half returned from his travels yesterday with some interesting nuggets of information he learned on his trip. Among those was this:

eLife

Wow. Consider me informed. As the new guy in the OA slate of journals… eLife wants your:

“outstanding research in the life sciences and biomedicine, which ranges from the most fundamental and theoretical work, through to translational, applied, and clinical research.”

HHMI, Max Planck and Wellcome are funding this effort, and as of now publishing in eLife is free for a while, and content is open access – an improvement over S/C/N.  The editorial leadership is very strong, led by EIC Randy Schekman, even if a little XY heavy ( only 5/21 senior editors are women – just sayin’). The editorial leadership of all working scientists appears to look at every submitted manuscript and determine its suitability for peer-review- as opposed to those other single word journals that use professional editors who are not working scientists determine the impact of your work (for starters). Haven’t we all complained about that at one time or another?

Emphasis in the peer review process at eLife seems to be on rigor, brevity, and generally less painful review/revision process.. and they have a nifty little video (sorry WP won’t let me embed) about their review process:

eLife: Changing the review process from eLife on Vimeo.

Oh how I have longed for concise guidance on revisions, for limiting revisions to those that are essential to the point of the paper, and for limited rounds of review. Is it too good to be true that you could get a paper into a very selective journal in less than the two years it takes you to do three pages of additional experiments that may or may not be relevant to the conclusion of the paper?

Decisions and responses for manuscripts accepted to eLife are published with the published article (with the author’s OK). And…they keep track of the mean time for submission to acceptance on their homepage… which is info that many journals don’t share (Cell, for example- publishes their mean time from submission to first decision as 21 days… but you could still go through a year of painful revisions after that).

Could eLife be the open access answer to the glamormagz? Maybe. They certainly set themselves up that way. I only learned about this yesterday (and judging by the papers published in eLife from my field (only 23 so far), not many of my colleagues know about it either)… but I’m interested to see how this journal will evolve. I’m reading this little gem with interest right now.

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4 thoughts on “Cell, Science, Nature…. and… eLife?

  1. I have reviewed a couple times for eLife, and the review process truly is as they claim. If a revised manuscript is going to be invited, the reviewers and the handling editor come to agreement about what is required of the authors before a decision is rendered. That in itself is huge.

    I have been trying to convince my post-docs and students to submit their best work there, but so far they have been resistant.

  2. C PP- That is good to know. I guess I’ve been under a rock for a while.
    I have recently had a great experience with a society journal that is supposed to publish high impact stuff, have a painless review process and is OA . We got our initial decision in 22 days and only one changes requires a very small experiment- which I totally agree will help the manuscript. I was SHOCKED and delighted at the rapid conditional acceptance (which the letter actually said that- instead of the usual reject with resubmission thing).

  3. Hey Dr. Weigel- Thx for stopping by! I’m excited about the possibilities for eLife. … but you need to get the word out to different fields… I only found out about eLife by freak chance and I’m at least a little OA savvy. I don’t think any of my departmental colleagues know about eLife. I did enjoy that paper though. 🙂

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