eLife publishes the most substantive parts of the decision letter after review, along with the associated author responses, to provide greater context for the work and indicate what revisions were requested during the review process.
Until recently, we offered authors the opportunity to opt out, although less than 1% decided against having the decision letter and response published.
With that opt out now removed, all research papers published by eLife will be accompanied by a decision letter and author response.
At eLife, working scientists are involved in the decision making at every stage of the review process. When a paper is sent out for peer review and the reviewers have submitted their comments independently, they are expected to consult with one another online to reach a decision they can all agree with.
Randy Schekman, eLife’s Editor-in-Chief, explains: “The role of the referees is to decide collectively whether the work has been conducted to a high standard and if the conclusions of the work are justified. If so, the task is to identify remaining issues that must be addressed to fully support publication. The goal is to help the authors improve the paper, but not to ask for extra work that may be better placed for future submissions.”
In the words of Eve Marder, eLife’s Deputy Editor: “The discourse enables editors and reviewers to engage at the highest academic level with the work presented.”
Following the consultation, the Reviewing Editor collates the reviewers’ comments into a single letter to the corresponding author, outlining the consolidated list of recommendations.
Corresponding authors then have the opportunity to respond to the comments.
Once the work is published, the decision letter and author response are included.
To learn more about the eLife peer-review process, visit elifesciences.org/about#process