Research funder open-access journal, eLife, celebrates first year of publication.

Inside eLife
  • Annotations

This Tuesday 15 th October marks one year since eLife, the new open-access journal for the best research in life science and biomedicine backed by the funders of research, published its first papers.

By establishing a venue for the most influential discoveries, the eLife Sciences initiative aims to drive change in scientific publishing – to expedite peer review, enhance the presentation and use of results, and provide open access to key findings. eLife Sciences is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust.

"We have already attracted ground-breaking studies at the leading edge of many disciplines within the life sciences," says Randy Schekman, eLife editor-in-chief and professor at University of California Berkeley. “The community of practising scientists behind eLife have worked hard to establish and maintain a high bar for the journal. We will now work to demonstrate that there’s much more excellent science out there than can currently be accommodated by a select few print-based journals.”

Schekman is co-recipient of the 2013 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine. To date, the eLife journal has published 184 research articles in translational research, basic and theoretical biology, applied science, and methodology in diverse subject areas, including genomics, biophysics, developmental biology, ecology, and epidemiology. As shown by article-level metrics, papers are being used, shared and cited by the research community as well as attracting coverage in major media outlets.

The most discussed aspect of the eLife effort has been the innovative editorial process, which is managed by a team of reputable and active research scientists. Editors and referees consult to provide clear, unequivocal post-review feedback in just 28 days (median). Published articles typically go through one round of revision before acceptance; the average time in revision is 35 days. The average time from submission to acceptance is under 80 days.

Other highlights from the journal’s first year include the release of eLife Lens, a cutting-edge open-source tool for reading and using content online, and the eLife media policy, which was inspired by one of eLife’s earliest authors making her manuscript openly available ahead of publication. Further highlights are captured in the 2012 eLife Sciences Annual Report, available at

Toby Coppel, chair of the eLife board of directors and Partner at Virgin Management adds, “The board is confident that eLife Sciences is on track to drive the disruptive change that is required in this marketplace to place the interests of science first. Our efforts this past year make clear that we are not interested in the status quo. We will experiment, we will innovate rapidly, and we will share our best practices with our peers.”

More about eLife’s first year is described in an editorial published today:

The eLife journal is online at

# # #

Media contact

Jenny Mitchell

About eLife Sciences

eLife Sciences is a unique collaboration between the funders and practitioners of research to communicate ground-breaking discoveries in the life and biomedical sciences in the most effective way. The eLife journal is a platform for maximising the reach and influence of new discoveries and showcasing new approaches to the presentation, use, and assessment of research. As an open-access journal, eLife delivers access to content for free, online, immediately on publication, and will encourage maximum possible reach and utility of the content by publishing under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which is emerging as the gold standard for open-access publishing. eLife is supported by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust.

Learn more at