In the 10 years since eLife’s inception, we have made significant progress in improving how research in the life and biomedical sciences is communicated. Here we share our vision for a future where a diverse, global community of scientists produces trusted and open results for the benefit of all.
This vision has evolved in response to the changing publishing landscape – namely the increasing popularity of preprints among the life science community, including eLife authors. We are working to achieve our vision in three ways – with the eLife journal, open-source technology development, and our community engagement activities – all of which feed into our overarching ‘publish, review, curate’ mission that puts preprints first.
To succeed in realising our vision, we will:
- Continue to develop the ‘publish, review, curate’ model, and encourage its adoption among authors, funders and content curators such as societies;
- Build a platform for the ‘publish, review, curate’ model that is open-source, readily adaptable and addresses community needs;
- Work with the community of scientists and content curators on new ways to improve the whole research communication process in the ‘publish, review, curate’ world;
- And operate a journal for biology and medicine that maintains the highest standards, carries influence in the community and covers its costs.
Our strategic vision encompasses eLife’s core values of openness, integrity and inclusiveness – the responsible behaviours we wish to see in science and that form the basis of our research culture programme.
Preprints can help accelerate and democratise access to the latest research, highlighted in part by the real-world impact of COVID-19-related papers posted on bioRxiv and medRxiv during the pandemic. eLife has always supported preprints as an open-science practice and a way of speeding up discovery, and we welcome the shift towards preprints as a way of sharing important new results as efficiently as possible.
However, the sheer rise in the number of preprints posted in recent years has also shown us the need for a system to openly peer-review and curate them, allowing people to assess the trustworthiness of new results and navigate the growing preprint landscape more easily. Our ‘publish, then review’ model is the first step towards this system, aiming to make preprints, and the assessment of them, more useful for authors, readers, the wider research community and others.
Now, as a next step in the evolution of publishing, we’re working towards a world where research outputs are shared as early in the research process as possible, are publicly reviewed to ensure trust in the findings, and benefit from the contributions of a truly diverse scientific workforce. As the ‘publish, review, curate’ model forms a major cornerstone of this world, we have steered all of our editorial, community and technology efforts in this direction. We are pleased to continue our work with the ongoing support of our like-minded funders – the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation, the Max Planck Society and Wellcome – and we look forward to having all of our communities along for the journey.
Questions and comments are welcome. Please annotate publicly on the article or contact us at hello [at] elifesciences [dot] org.