Peer review

eLife's review process combines the immediacy and openness of preprints with the scrutiny of peer review by experts.
eLife's peer-review process is changing. From January 2023, eLife will no longer make accept/reject decisions after peer review. Instead, every preprint sent for peer review will be published on the eLife website as a “Reviewed Preprint” that includes an eLife assessment, public reviews, and a response from the authors (if available). When writing the eLife assessment, the editors and reviewers will use a common vocabulary to summarize the significance of the findings and the strength of the evidence reported in the preprint. Read about the new process.

eLife works to improve the process of peer review so that it more effectively conveys the assessment of expert reviewers to authors, readers and other interested parties. We only peer review preprints, and are creating a system in which the outputs of peer review are the primary way research is assessed, rather than journal title. This approach brings together the immediacy and openness of a preprint with the scrutiny offered by peer review.

eLife's editorial process produces two outputs:

  1. Public reviews that describe the strengths and weaknesses of the work, and indicate whether the claims and conclusions are justified by the data. An evaluation summary, that captures the major conclusions of the review process, and each of the public reviews are posted alongside the preprint for the benefit of readers, potential readers, and others interested in the work.
  2. Recommendations for the authors, including requests for revisions and suggestions for improvement. The recommendations for the authors are designed to help them revise and improve their preprint. When revised preprints are accepted for publication by eLife, the recommendations for the authors and author responses are published alongside the paper.

The main features of eLife’s consultative peer-review process are:

  • we only review research papers that have been made available as preprints
  • our editorial process produces two outputs: i) public reviews on the strengths and weaknesses of the work; ii) recommendations for the authors
  • all decisions are made by editors who are active researchers
  • editors and reviewers discuss their reviews with each other; extra experiments, analyses, or data collection are only requested if they are essential and can be reasonably completed within about two months
  • manuscripts published by eLife include the recommendations to the authors and the author responses
  • we do not artificially limit the number of articles we publish or have a set acceptance rate

Related links