Skip To Content
Cambridge University Science Magazine
In October 2022, the nonprofit life sciences journal eLife announced a radical new model for scientific publishing. In conventional journals, only the final version of an accepted research article sees the light of day. Peer review – the essential process of vetting by other experts in the field to maintain the quality and credibility of scientific practice – is mostly kept behind the scenes.

In their new model, eLife will no longer ‘accept’ or ‘reject’ articles which have been through peer review, instead publishing every article sent for review along with reviewers’ comments. Authors can choose to address these concerns – or not. This move sparked controversy amongst the scientific community. Many researchers praised the shift towards open science and transparent publishing. Others expressed concerns over biases imposed by the journal’s editors who would now be the sole gatekeepers of work selected for publication, or the possibility that bad science could make it to the public eye with the endorsement of being called ‘peer-reviewed’.

According to eLife’s Editor-in-Chief Michael Eisen, “the future of science publishing is author directed publishing (preprints) combined with multifaceted, ongoing, public post-publication peer review.” Scientific publishing is a huge yet flawed industry, and although progress is being made towards a fairer system for scientists, only time will tell whether eLife’s bold experiment will drive science in the right direction.

Article by Holly Smith

Image credit: Adam Clarkson

Image licence: Attribution-NoDerivs (CC BY-ND 2.0)

The original image has been cropped