We’re changing the way work is reviewed and vetted for publication.
Articles will be judged by a group of academic editors who are active and respected researchers, who have expertise across the relevant disciplines, and who are committed to assessing submissions efficiently and fairly on the basis of their scientific merits. Our approach to the editorial process focuses on delivering the highest level of service to authors, and saving time at every step. Here’s how it will work:
- Our senior editors decide within a few days if the submission is appropriate for in-depth peer review. For initial submission, all we ask for is the research article in one PDF along with a cover letter. Only once editors commit to full review are authors asked to upload the article along with additional information and files to support the peer review process (information about funding, author contributions, ethical issues, data availability, high-resolution figures and so on). Senior editors may consult with reviewing editors at this stage.
- The senior editors assign a member of the Board of Reviewing Editors to oversee the review process. The reviewing editor will usually review the article him or herself, as well – calling on additional external reviewers to join the conversation as needed.
- Reviewers get together online to discuss their recommendations – communicating openly with one another before a decision is reached, refining their feedback, and working to provide clear and concise guidance to authors. If the work needs essential revision before it can be published, the reviewing editor incorporates those requirements into a single set of instructions for the author to move ahead to the next step. We aim to deliver decisions after peer review within four weeks.
- Further rounds of revision will be largely eliminated, as the reviewing editor will be able to assess most revised submissions without further outside review.
- We’ll post the decision letter and author responses alongside articles published in eLife, subject to author agreement, so readers can assess and comment on the review conversation, too.
In the end, authors will know sooner than later if they have a paper of the caliber expected for eLife, spend less time on revisions, and get their results published more quickly.
We aim to be constructive and swift, with reduced times between submission and acceptance.
eLife will be highly selective – targeting the very best in scientific advances – but not exclusive. Our editorial policies and practices will ensure that ground-breaking reports from every corner of the community will have equal opportunity to be published in an outstanding venue – with no special preference given to ‘fashionable’ topics. To meet these aims:
- Our broad, international Board of Reviewing Editors includes outstanding investigators from those early in their careers to highly experienced researchers.
- Interim findings may be published, provided the conclusion is clear and the finding novel and judged to be of high importance.
- We will provide a rapid turn-around for particularly time-sensitive work.
- Once we commit to accepting a timely revision, new and exciting findings will be published, regardless of other developments in the literature.