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New Open Access Journal eLife

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Earlier this year a new open access journal, eLife, was announcedAs the brain-child of the Wellcome  Trust, the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI) and the Max Planck Society, the journal is a pretty big deal, with it already showing some big successes. In an editorial today, the editors noted the following:

The three legs of eLife’s initial mission are: to publish outstanding science under an open-access license; to create an unparalleled editorial process that is decisive, fair and efficient; and to fully utilize digital media in the presentation of new research. The guiding principle of the project is to serve the interests of science, scholars and society.

These are fairly broad remits under which the blog will be operated. There are a lot of people using the Open Access model now, but I do like it that their addressing the almost glacially-slow editorial process. So far, it looks impressive. This is especially true given the number submissions they’ve received:

Since the announcement of the project in 2011, we have recruited a world-class community of academic editors to run the journal along with a staff team of experienced professionals. In partnership with a number of different organizations, we have also established much of the essential publishing infrastructure required to meet eLife’s objectives.

eLife opened for submissions in mid-June, and within two months about 100 submissions had been received, including several exceptional articles that met the standards for scientific excellence required for publication in eLife. A key goal for eLife is to eliminate unnecessary delays in the publication process, and the fact that the first articles were accepted in August demonstrates that our editorial and peer-review processes are equal to this challenge.

Samuel Arbesman over at the Social Dimension blog also mentioned that eLifis providing some cool article-metrics:

Furthermore, there are should be some fun altmetric-friendly features as eLife continues to develop, including article-level metrics and other goodies. While this journal is by no means the only such attempt at a high-quality open access journal, its funding structure as well as other innovations are welcome additions to the open science scene and will hopefully help make this market that much stronger.

Like Arbesman, I’m quite keen on seeing how this project develops. In particular, it’ll be interesting to see whether or not it paves the way for a sustainable open access model that offers a nice environment in which authors can start migrating from behind the paywall.

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