eLife’s peer review process

eLife is changing its editorial process to emphasize public reviews and assessments of preprints by eliminating accept/reject decisions after peer review.

To learn more about why eLife’s process is changing, read the Editorial.


Submission to eLife is easy, especially if you have already posted a preprint. If you have not yet posted a preprint, we can help you. Preprints allow researchers to rapidly disseminate their findlings to establish priority, and to retain control over the publishing process.

Posting a preprint

At submission we’ll ask for the DOI of your preprint if you have one already. If not, we can help you post it to bioRxiv (a preprint server for life science) or medRxiv (a preprint server for the clinical and health sciences).

Sending for peer review

Editors select the submissions that will be sent for peer review. Unfortunately, eLife does not have the capacity to review every submission, so some will not be sent for peer review.

Peer Review

Reviewers are asked to write a Public Review that comments on the strengths and weaknesses of the preprint and on whether the claims and conclusions are justified by the data. Reviewers also provide recommendations for the authors, including suggestions for revisions and improvements.

eLife assessment

During the review process, editors and reviewers discuss their reviews with each other and assess the significance of the findings and the strength of the evidence reported in the preprint. Their conclusions are captured in an “eLife assessment”, which is written with the help of a common vocabulary to ensure consistency.

Publication fee

A publication fee will be charged at the point we commit to peer reviewing the work.

Reviewed Preprint

Under this new approach eLife will no longer make accept or reject decisions following peer review. Instead every article selected for peer review will be published as a Reviewed Preprint on the eLife website. This will include the preprint itself along with its eLife assessment, public reviews and – if the author wishes – a response from the authors.

Author revisions

Upon receiving the reviews, the authors decide whether to proceed to a Version of Record or undertake revisions. If the authors would like us to consider a revised version, they will need to update their preprint.

Updates to peer reviews and assessments

We will consider whether to re-review revised preprints, and update our assessment and the Public Reviews as needed. The recommendations for the authors and author responses are also included in a revised Reviewed Preprint.

Version of Record

When authors are satisfied that the process is complete, they can request that the current Reviewed Preprint becomes the Version of Record. This involves submission of high resolution figure files and some additional data to prepare the full and final version for publication. Authors will also have the opportunity to proof their work.

The Version of Record will replace the Reviewed Preprint as the latest version of the authors’ work on eLife, and will retain the same citation and DOI, which will direct anybody visiting previous versions to the latest version.

Publishing with another journal

We hope authors will want to proceed with an eLife Version of Record. If not, they are still welcome to submit their research for publication at another journal. The Reviewed Preprint hosted by eLife will remain, and where possible we will add a link to say that the final version has been published somewhere else.

To learn more about how the new process will work, read the Inside eLife post. If you would like to submit to eLife, please visit the eLife submission system