Since our inception in 2012, eLife has offered a fully open-access venue for the publication of important results in biology and medicine. For our first five years, through the end of 2016, our founders completely subsidised our non-profit organisation and made it possible for authors to publish for free. In our second round of funding, which started in 2017, we were asked to recover some of our costs and we introduced a $2,500USD publication fee.
Now, as we approach our third round of funding, our funders wish to focus their investments on developing new approaches to research communication, such as our work on Sciety and the Executable Research Article, and no longer subsidise the basic operation of the eLife journal. We are therefore increasing our publication fee from $2,500 to 3,000USD, effective April 5, 2021, to cover what it costs us to publish. We understand that a publication fee can be a barrier for many communities, and we do not want our fee to ever prevent anyone from publishing with us. Our full fee waiver will continue to be made available to anyone who requests it.
When we reach our goal, to recover our publishing costs through the fee, will depend on other factors including our publishing volume and foreign exchange rate, but we’re optimistic that we can achieve this in 2022 with this change to the fee.
At the same time, we recognise that the publication fee is not an ideal model for funding open access. In its place, we would favour a model with no transaction costs for the author and are working toward that with the ‘publish, then review’ system – in which results are first shared as preprints and then reviewed by communities of experts. (See “Peer Review: Implementing a ‘publish, then review’ model of publishing). We’ll experiment with this in the coming years.
For further details about the eLife publication fee, please visit our Author Guide.
Questions and comments are welcome. Please annotate publicly on the article or contact us at hello [at] elifesciences [dot] org.