‘PeerJ PrePrints’ - a new Preprint Server for the Biological and Medical Sciences

Today, April 3rd 2013, we are very pleased to announce the launch of ‘PeerJ PrePrints’ an entirely new ‘preprint server’ for the Biological and Medical Sciences. With the launch of PeerJ PrePrints, the publication ecosystem of PeerJ is now complete.


There is a ‘long form’ guest blog post at Scientific American describing more of the background to this launch, but of course we wanted to note this milestone with an announcement here.

For an academic article, publication in a peer reviewed journal is simply the end point in what has typically been a lengthy process of drafts, comments from colleagues, and revisions. The physical sciences have, for a long time, circulated these drafts (or ‘preprints’) amongst their colleagues in a community-wide practice which culminated in the creation of the successful arXiv preprint server (similar examples in other fields include the Social Sciences Research Network (SSRN), and Research Papers in Economics (RePEc)). However, despite the apparent benefits of rapid dissemination and early feedback, preprint servers have not taken off in the Biological or Medical sciences. Although there have been several experiments, for example by Nature Preceedings or the BMJ’s NetPrints.org (both of which have been closed down), the biological and medical fields have so far failed to embrace preprints in the same way that their physical sciences colleagues have done.

Despite this, it is our belief of that an increased awareness of the benefits of early and open sharing, combined with advances in the ease of online publishing, means that the time is right for the biological and medical sciences to finally take advantage of a preprint server dedicated to their fields.

This truly is a concept whose time has finally come (although as our long form post makes clear, it is at the same time a  concept which dates back to the earliest days of the scientific journal). Increasingly, we see examples of successful experiments in this space (F1000 Research and FigShare for example); we see an increasing number of bioscientists submitting work to arXiv (despite the fact that it is not intended to be a natural venue for their research); we see that Open Access, and the associated benefits of open and early sharing are increasingly being understood by academia; and finally we hear from a lot of scientists who are now looking for a suitable preprint venue for their work.

With the launch of PeerJ PrePrints, authors now have a venue where they can experience an end-to-end publication process for their journal articles. Authors can submit their early drafts to PeerJ PrePrints, gain feedback, issue revisions, and then when they are ready they can submit that article to the PeerJ journal for peer review and ultimate publication in a formal, peer-reviewed journal. By doing so, authors can establish their priority, seek wider feedback, distribute their work in advance of formal publication and develop a stronger narrative – all of which will ultimately benefit the distribution of scientific knowledge.

All PeerJ PrePrints receive a permanent, stable identifier (a Digital Object Identifier issued via EZID and resolving via the normal routes) and are formally archived for long term preservation using CLOCKSS. In addition, rich metadata (to the extent that is it supplied by the author) is made available, enhancing discoverability and text mining. All preprints have their alt-metrics tracked (by Impact Story, as well as with detailed usage data), and the site will soon support author comments and versioning.

Other than passing a basic vetting process, PeerJ PrePrints are not peer reviewed, and so should not be viewed as a formal publication. When the author is ready, their PeerJ PrePrint submission can be ‘transferred’ to the PeerJ journal, for formal peer review and ultimate publication as a peer-reviewed ‘version of record’. Publication of  a preprint in Peerj PrePrints is not a prerequisite for a PeerJ publication (nor vice versa).

All PeerJ PrePrints publications are issued under a Creative Commons CC-BY 3.0 license and publication in PeerJ PrePrints is free for all PeerJ Members. ‘Basic’, ‘Enhanced’ and ‘Investigator’ Members can publish an unlimited number of preprints per year, whilst ‘Free’ Members can publish one per year, as detailed at: https://peerj.com/pricing/

PeerJ PrePrint ‘Instructions for Authors’ can be found at https://peerj.com/about/preprints/scope-and-instructions/ and our PeerJ PrePrint ‘Policies and Guidelines’ are at https://peerj.com/about/preprints/policies-and-procedures/

Authors wishing to experience the future of publishing can now submit PeerJ PrePrint articles at https://peerj.com/preprints and they can submit PeerJ journal articles, for formal peer review, at https://peerj.com/

The PeerJ Team




Linkfest for the PeerJ launch

PeerJ published its first 30 articles a week ago (and published 10 more today), so it seemed like a good time to round up some of the coverage we received in a quick linkfest.

In addition to our own blog posts announcing the launch; overviewing some of the innovations of the site; explaining our choice of featured image; featuring some of the reaction to our Open Peer Review; and overviewing our technical infrastructure  the following represents a good sample of the coverage the launch received in the wider world:

Publishers Weekly

Guest Blog on Scientific American

The Digital Shift (the Library Journal) 

The Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week blog

The Guardian science blog

The We, Beasties blog

Controversies in Hospital Infection blog (by a PeerJ Academic Editor) 

The Figshare blog

The Boreal Beetle blog (by a PeerJ Academic Editor)


Insect Ecology Lab blog (by a PeerJ Academic Editor)

Neder-L blog (in Dutch)

The Scientist

The Hindu

The Chasing Down Emma blog 

The Shinka3 Blog (in Japanese)

The Theoretical Ecology blog

The SciLogs blog

My ScienceWork

The Sauropod Vertebra Picture of the Week blog 

Slashdot discussion

The iRights Info blog (in German)

Bio IT World

The Corante Copyfight blog 

The SciLogs BrainLogs blog (in German)

Guokr.com (in Chinese)

 Also check out some of the Tweets we have favorited.


Thank you to all those who have written about us, or are following our developments. As you can see, we are now open for submissions and publishing some great science - we look forward to publishing your work in the future.


The Launch of PeerJ

Today, February 12th 2013, we are very pleased to announce the publication of the first 30 PeerJ articles. Normally the launch of a new journal would be accompanied by an editorial in the pages of the first issue, but here at PeerJ we do things a little bit differently - we only publish Research Articles, and we don’t have issues, so we are marking the launch with a blog post.

We wanted to take this opportunity to express our hopes and our Vision for PeerJ.

The output of academia is amongst the most valuable content that our society produces, and yet for hundreds of years it has been accessible to only a few wealthy consumers in positions of privilege. With the advent of the internet and the World Wide Web, we were given a golden opportunity to dramatically improve the distribution and accessibility of the intellectual output of the world for the betterment of all. And yet, despite the fact that 23 years have passed since the web was invented, it is still a fact that the vast majority of academic articles are owned by their publisher; are severely restricted in their re-use; and are available only to the wealthiest of consumers. This hampers research; it hampers development; and we are all diminished as a result. It is not overstating the situation to say that lives are lost because academic research is often ineffectually distributed.

The Open Access movement has made great strides, but there is still a long way to go before all academic content can be freely read, broadly distributed and openly re-used by anyone, regardless of geography, education or wealth. A long way, but it is a worthy trip to undertake.

And so this is why we believe so strongly in the mission of PeerJ. We want to be a catalyst for change within the system of academic communication. We want  to publish science in an effective, efficient, rapid, innovative, respectful, professional and, above all ‘Open’ manner. Others have pioneered this trail, and we stand on their shoulders, but our personal mission is to take what they have built and push it further. After all, if what we achieve makes even the slightest difference, then the net benefit to society will be amplified tremendously.

There are four main elements to what we aim to achieve:

#1 - We will help to make all academic publishing Open. All of our content will be published with a CC-BY license, and will be distributed in as reusable a format as possible. By doing so, and by being successful at it, we hope to play a part in catalyzing change and accelerating the movement to full Open Access.

#2 - We will innovate in everything we do. We are a tech driven publisher, and we will learn the lessons of the technology sector. Features will be rapidly developed and rolled out; we will never stagnate; we will always look forward; we will not fear innovation.

#3 - We will serve academia. We answer to academics, not shareholders and our decisions will always be guided by whether or not this advances academic development in some way.

#4 - We will do all of the above at a minimal cost to the creators, and zero cost to the consumers of academic content. At the end of the day, we want to get to a position where it is free to publish, as well as free to read, all academic output. With the help of the academic community, we believe we will get there.

And we are not alone - we have recruited almost 800 world class Academic Editors to the Editorial Board, and they believe in our Mission. And we have an Advisory Board of 20, including 5 Nobel Laureates, and they believe in our Mission as well. With the support of people like this, and the larger community of academia, we are convinced that we are on the right path.

For those of you still curious about what we do, and how we do it, please check out our ‘How it Works’ page and our FAQ. For those of you looking out for PeerJ PrePrints, you have to wait just a little bit longer - that functionality will launch in the next few weeks.

If you are reading this post then you are a catalyst for change. Please spread the word with your colleagues, sign up for a PeerJ membership, submit your work to PeerJ, and welcome onboard!

The Peerj Team

Also see this post explaining some of the functionality of PeerJ.


PeerJ now open for submissions; PeerJ PrePrints set for January 2013

We are pleased to announce that as of today (December 3rd, 2012) PeerJ, a fully peer-reviewed Open Access journal, is open for submissions! If you would like to submit, you simply need to sign up for a Free or Paid PeerJ Membership, log in, and follow the “Submit or View My Manuscripts” link at the top of the page.

With this news, we are moving swiftly towards publishing our first articles in January 2013. PeerJ PrePrints, which will make use of the same publication platform as PeerJ, will launch around the same time.

Updating the publishing experience

We also felt that the dated process of publishing a peer-reviewed manuscript needed a soup-to-nuts overhaul. We don’t just think differently at PeerJ, we’ve also built a unique submission and peer-review system with the aim to make the experience more modern, painless and faster for everyone.

Over the past month, we have been improving that system through a closed-beta with invited authors and editors. We were hoping to put 20-30 manuscripts through in November for this beta test. Our expectations were blown away; more than 80 manuscripts were started and more than 70 submitted thus far. These are coming from world-class universities and research facilities: Stanford, UC Berkeley, Harvard, Oxford, U. of Wisconsin, U. of Michigan, and many other top facilities throughout the world.

We can’t thank these early beta authors, our editors or reviewers enough for their feedback and patience.

While we are now open to all, we’ve still applied the beta label to the system. We are looking for more feedback throughout the remainder of 2012. A bonus of this is that any bugs or problems you experience are usually addressed in a matter of hours with personal attention. It’s the least we can do to thank you for being one of the first to submit to PeerJ.

From all of us at PeerJ,

We look forward to receiving your submissions!


PeerJ to open for submissions on December 3rd

Since we originally announced PeerJ back in June 2012, we have been hard at work building up an Editorial Board of leading academics (which now numbers overs 700), an Advisory Board (which now has 20 distinguished members, including 5 Nobel Laureates) and also creating entirely new online Submission and Peer Review software. Today, after a period of extensive Beta testing by members of our Editorial Board, we are very pleased to announce our formal Call for Papers. As of next Monday (December 3rd) we will be fully open for your submissions!

At the same time as this announcement, we are also releasing pages for our Aims & Scope and Instructions for Authors, as well as providing information about the Editorial Criteria and other standards which we will apply to all submissions. With this Call for Papers, we are moving swiftly towards first publications, as well as the launch of PeerJ PrePrints, both of which are planned for early 2013.

Beta testers have described our submission software as “the most fantastic submission system [we] have ever used”. To experience this for yourself, simply sign up for a Free PeerJ account and as of next Monday (whenever you are logged in) you will find a link to “Submit or View My Manuscripts” at the top of your screen.

If you would like to help promote PeerJ amongst your colleagues then please feel free to either distribute our Press Release, or use this marketing flyer. We are excited to be entering this next phase of our rollout and we look forward to seeing your submissions!