Authors, the media, and eLife

Authors, the media, and eLife

Monday, October 29, 2012 - 11:59

By Jennifer McLennan, Mark Patterson, and Randy Schekman.

Today we release the eLife policy for working with the media – covering how we will collaborate with the media and authors before and after publication.  We are grateful for thoughtful advice from a number of journalists, university-based press officers, and researchers.  In our discussions, we’ve tried to take a fresh look at current journal practices and be guided by the needs of science. We reproduce the entire policy below, which is available in our Author Guide.

Two points in particular are worth noting. First, we are encouraging authors whose work has been accepted for publication to discuss their work with colleagues as much as they wish.  If writers or journalists hear about the work and wish to write about it, we encourage authors to discuss their work with the writer(s) concerned, and we suggest that authors make the accepted manuscript available at a suitable repository or their own website.  eLife is therefore not applying the Ingelfinger rule, which strongly discourages interaction with the media ahead of formal publication. 

Second, given our policy to allow open discussion with the media and others ahead of publication, we will not issue embargoed press releases.  Instead, eLife will promote articles at the point of publication. We’ll be keeping a close eye on the impacts of this policy. If you have any questions or comments, feel free to share them here or to email j.mclennan@elifesciences.org.


eLife media policy

eLife aims to advance scientific discourse and accelerate the pace of discovery by making important discoveries available to the widest possible audience as rapidly and effectively as possible. The following policy is designed to encourage high-quality, informed and widespread discussion of new research – before and after publication. It was developed in consultation with the eLife editorial community and is subject to further input, refinement, and change. Please send feedback and comments to media@elifesciences.org.

Released October 29, 2012. -----------------------

1. Presenting and discussing the work prior to publication

a. Prior to publication authors are encouraged to present their findings to their peers, including at meetings and conferences; to deposit copies of their manuscript (original and revised versions) in open-access repositories, or to make the manuscript available via their website; and to blog about their findings. None of these activities will affect consideration of a manuscript by eLife.

b. When there is media interest in a paper that has been accepted by eLife, but not yet published, we encourage the author to deposit the accepted version of the manuscript in an open-access repository, or to make it available via their website. Media reporting will not affect consideration of a manuscript by eLife.

c. We request that articles in the media about papers that are in press at eLife include a reference to eLife and/or elifesciences.org.

2. Promotion of published content

a. Every published eLife paper will have a short, plain-language summary (the eLife Digest).

b. Papers in eLife will be promoted to the media and to interested readers on the day of publication. We consider this to be the optimal moment to promote the work, because readers will have access to the final published version, including any added-value content and functionality.

c. We will issue press releases for some papers on the day of publication. Because authors are completely free to release their content ahead of publication and to talk with the media at any stage, we will not be releasing content under embargo. If you are interested in being included on the eLife media list, please contact media@elifesciences.org.