I’m totally smitten with PeerJ. A scientific journal. Yes, I’m am a geek.
But this isn’t just any journal. It is open access, extremely fast, fair, lets authors retain copyright, publishing costs are low, and the layout of the online and PDF articles and of the submission portal is amazing – elegant, modern, and roomy. Going from the clunky interface used by the evil Elsevier journals is like leaving a PC for Mac. Dumping your Blackberry for an iphone 5. Ahhhh. I finally found science nirvana.
The downloadable manuscript PDFs are also clean and modern (e.g., download Williams et al 2013 here). Large font. Single column layout. Pretty color graphics (at no extra charge!). Nice.
Fast and Efficient: The first paper I handled as an editor, Williams et al. 2013 was submitted on 22 April 2013, accepted on 12 May 2013, and published 28 May 2013. Five weeks from submission to publication! Amazing. The reviewers came in in under two weeks and the authors revised the manuscript and resubmitted it in a day or two. I remember the first review for my first Ecology paper took nine months! The whole process took well over two years. And for most journals, this is still not too far off the norm. I also appreciate the efficiency of minimal email communication with the home office, both as an editor and author. Even at PLOS One, submitting & publishing a manuscript requires enough email correspondence to fill a book. Very Wasteful.
Open peer review: Open science needs to mean more than simply open access and data sharing. It must include open peer review. PeerJ is on board and will share the entire review history of papers, including the reviews, correspondence from and with the editor, rebuttal letters, etc. This is nothing short of revolutionary in academic science – until now, this was all secret and hidden from view.
Reviewers are encouraged to forgo anonymity – which many seem to be doing. This changes the whole dynamic. The reviews I have seen at PeerJ, both as an editor and author, have been objective, friendly, and helpful (which is rarely the case when reviewers are anonymous).
OK. I’m an academic editor for PeerJ, but I actually use the product too! We published PrePrint #19 here and I just got the reviews back from the second paper I submitted. I’ll blog about that later today.