eLife’s New Model: Changing the way you share your research

From next year, eLife is eliminating accept/reject decisions after peer review, instead focusing on public reviews and assessments of preprints.

Since its inception, eLife’s mission has been to innovate and improve the way research is communicated. With the increasing popularity of preprints among the scientific community, including eLife authors, in 2021 we announced that we would only review articles that were available as preprints.

We're now excited to introduce our new publishing process.

From next year, we will no longer make accept/reject decisions at the end of the peer-review process; rather, all papers that have been peer-reviewed will be published on the eLife website as Reviewed Preprints, accompanied by an eLife assessment and public reviews. The authors will also be able to include a response to the assessment and reviews.

The decision on what to do next will then entirely be in the hands of the author; whether that’s to revise and resubmit, or to declare it as the final Version of Record.

Learn more about the changes we’re making and why.

Why our process is changing

We understand that getting your work peer-reviewed and published can be slow and frustrating, with seemingly endless rounds of review, resubmission and rejection before an editor chooses to accept your paper.

It’s also wasteful. When research is rejected after review, the rich evaluations provided as part of the review process are lost, when they could provide valuable insights for readers.

And the reliance on journal titles means that where you publish is often valued higher than what you publish.

At eLife we are choosing to do something different.

Our new model combines the immediacy and openness of preprints with the scrutiny of peer review by experts.

A Reviewed Preprint can be online within a few weeks of the review process being completed, accompanied by the public reviews and eLife assessment, designed to help readers assess your work.

It’s then in your hands to decide what you’d like to do next.

We believe this is a more transparent, faster and fairer way to publish research.

How the new process will work

Interested in exploring how the new model will work? Read more on the process page.

We’ve outlined the new five-step process below:

1. Submission

Submit your paper and you’ll hear if it is invited for peer review.

2. Peer review

Your paper undergoes consultative review by experts in the field and a publication fee is collected. You will then receive an eLife assessment, public reviews and confidential recommendations from reviewers on how to improve the paper.

3. Publication

Your paper is published on eLife’s website as a Reviewed Preprint along with the eLife assessment and public reviews. It is then citable.

The eLife assessment reflects the significance of the findings and the strength of the evidence reported in the preprint. You will also be able to include a response to the assessment and reviews.

4. Author revision

You control which revisions to make, and if and when to resubmit. If you revise, we will publish a new Reviewed Preprint with updated reviews and assessment.

5. Version of Record

At any point following peer review, you can choose to have your Reviewed Preprint published as the ‘Version of Record’. Following author proofing and conformance with our journal policies, eLife will send your paper to be indexed on PubMed.

What is included with a Reviewed Preprint?

Peer review is a collaborative process at eLife. Editors and reviewers, who are all active researchers in their fields, discuss their reviews with each other.

A Reviewed Preprint, having undergone this process, will look very similar to an existing eLife research article, with the addition of:

  • More visible public reviews that describe the strengths and weaknesses of the work, and indicate whether the claims and conclusions are justified by the data. These public reviews will be available for authors and readers to access from the top of each article page.
  • An eLife assessment that summarises the significance of the findings and the strength of the evidence reported in the preprint. Read more about eLife assessments.

You can explore the following demo articles of Reviewed Preprints and the accompanying outputs below:

Examples of Reviewed Preprints are available here.

Learn more about the new process

From January 31, 2023, all authors submitting their research to eLife will follow this new process. To be considered for the new model before then, please email editorial [at] elifesciences.org.

If you’d like to learn more about the new process, we encourage you to:

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Questions and comments are welcome. Please annotate publicly on the article or contact us at hello [at] elifesciences [dot] org.