New OA journal hopes to improve peer review process

eLife , an online only, open access journal in the life sciences scheduled to begin publication next year, will use a discussion-based peer review process that will allow reviewers to share their opinions with each other and to reach a consensus in their review.  Editor Randy Schekman feels that this process will not only be more fair than standard peer review, but can also be done more quickly.  As an incentive for this quick, consultative review process, reviewers, as well as editors and board members, will be paid for their time.  The entire editorial process will be in the hands of working scientists.

In an article published on November 27 in The Chronicle of Higher Education, Schekman, who is the former editor of PNAS (the Proceedings of the National Academies of Science) and a professor of molecular and cell biology at the University of California at Berkeley, says that he hopes eLife will compete with Cell, Nature, and Science.   At least in the beginning, authors will not have to pay any publications fees.  Three major science funders – the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society, and the Wellcome Trust – are providing financial support for up to five years.