I am excited to announce today that @eLife is transitioning to a new model based on author-driven publishing (preprints) and public post-publication peer review and curation elifesciences.org/articles/64910…
Our moves are designed to catalyze the desperately needed transition of science from the slow, exclusive, and expensive "review then publish" model born with the printing press to a "publish then review" model optimized for the Internet.
We have been inspired by the embrace of preprinting by our community. A recent internet audit showed that the authors of 70% of papers under review @eLife had already published their work on @biorxivpreprint @medrxivpreprint or arXiv.
This means that in reality @eLife is no longer a publisher who makes works available to the public, rather, we are an organization that reviews and curates papers that have already been published. And with the changes announced today we are embracing & going all in on this model.
First, after a brief transition period, @eLife will be exclusively reviewing articles already published by the authors as preprints. Second, we are refocusing our editorial process around the production of public reviews, to be posted alongside the authors' manuscript.
Our primary function with thus be to transform preprints into refereed preprints that couple an authors' manuscript with high-quality, constructive peer reviews written and constructed for readers of papers and users of the data and results they contain.
Ultimately he hope to do away entirely with journals by augment these reviews with assessments from our editors and reviewers of the audience, level of interest and potential impact of the work - the kind of thing we currently try (very imperfectly) to capture in journal titles.
But we are mindful that, today, the authors who entrust us with their work have to navigate a career and funding landscape that expects them to publish their work in traditional journals that dispense formal markers of publication.
Therefore, while we develop better alternatives, we will still be making decisions about which papers will be published by @eLife, and we will still publish these papers on our website, as we always have.
We will also allow authors whose papers we decide not to publish in @eLife to postpone the posting of our public reviews until after their work is accepted at another journal.
The idea is to not have the assessment of our reviewers and editors prejudice the ability of authors to publish their paper somewhere else, while incentivizing authors to deal with substantive critiques that will ultimately be made public.
We are very excited for this new future, especially for all the ways this new system can open up the process of peer review and assessment.
The real opportunities – and challenges – will come from the more radical and dramatic changes to science publishing that will be possible once we finally break free of the "one paper, one journal, one publication model" that still dominates the field.
There is no reason for example, for papers to be reviewed only once, or by only one entity. The review process should involve multiple voices and go on for as long as the work is relevant.
It should be possible, for examples, for reviews to be written by anyone with something useful to say about a work – not just the people who have been selected by a journal or other entity.
This democratization of review can bring many benefits. But it is not without risks. We do not want the evaluation of science to become any more of a popularity contest than it already is, and we want to make sure that the process is as fair and free of bias as humanly possible.
We are excited to work with all of you to make this system work for all os us. And we reiterate our commitment to observe how it is impacting everyone involved in science and medicine, and to always be willing to fight for changes that make research communication better for all.

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More from @mbeisen

1 Dec
While we talk about the future of science publishing, we need to also have a conversation about how to fund it. The problems with the subscription model is obvious and needs no elaboration. But it's clear that the APC/author pays model doesn't really work either.
Back at the dawn of the #openaccess era, when @BioMedCentral and @PLOS adopted APCs, we knew it was imperfect, but it was the only viable way to cover costs that didn't require locking papers behind paywalls.
It was our expectation that this was a transitional state - that the funders who ultimately provide the money for science publishing would realize that it doesn't make sense to fund research infrastructure like publishing with transaction fees of any kind.
Read 10 tweets
19 Nov
Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine
I’m begging of you take it when you can
Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine, Vaccine
Please take it just because you can
COVID symptoms often lead to death
With flaming head and no more breath
With pallid skin and loss of taste and smell.
It shut down schools and businesses
And made us all social distance
But it cannot compete with my
Just two small shots of RNA
Will keep this bad virus at bay
Thanks to the scientists for making this
Read 7 tweets
3 Sep
Like many people, I've been thinking a lot about the Electoral College, and more specifically the "National Popular Vote" movement, and a disturbing/terrifying idea occurred to me.
For those who don't know, there is an ongoing effort to getting states to agree to allocate their electors to the winner of the national popular vote provided that enough other states agree to ensure the NPV winner would get the 270 electoral votes needed to win.
I like the approach of hacking the Electoral College, since actually eliminating it would require a constitutional amendment that would be much more difficult to pass. But it is probably doomed to failure since there is not a good incentive for enough states to sign on.
Read 18 tweets
6 Aug
as much as I and probably most other people want to move on from the BAM/SB affair, i feel like I as an individual, and many of us as a community, haven't fully reckoned with what happened, or more significantly why it happened, and what our roles in it were
so as not to bury the lead - I fucked up - and owe both an apology, and more importantly an accounting of what happened and a promise to not do so again, to the many people BAM has bullied, gaslit and undermined the past several years
the fuckup is not by falling for SB's grift - it was well crafted and targeted instincts of mine that i don't think are bad - but rather having played a part in conferring a sense of continued legitimacy on BAM - a legitimacy she abused in myriad destructive ways
Read 19 tweets
19 Jul
The media are, rightly, taking a lot of heat for spreading false fears about COVID-19 immunity. But's its worth tracing the origins of this particular case back to where it starts.
The article that prompted this discussion was pegged to a @medrxivpreprint paper from researchers at King's College who monitored neutralizing antibodies to COVID-19 in 65 patient in the three months following symptom onset. medrxiv.org/content/10.110…
The raw data are pretty simple. Most of the people in the study (95%) produced a high titer of neutralizing antibodies, with the titer declining after a peak around 21 days post onset of symptoms, with a lot of inter-individual variation in magnitude of response and kinetics.
Read 25 tweets
13 Jul
Since the dawn of the Internet, it has been clear that we need and have the opportunity to build a system of scholarly communication free of limitations of print: a system freely accessible to all authors and readers with a new model of peer review optimized for a digital age
The ideal system would feature: 1) universal author-driven publication (currently known as preprints) as the primary means of communication, 2) robust and multi-faceted post-publication peer review and curation, and 3) direct funding to eliminate all paywalls & transaction costs
This is, and has been, technologically feasible for a quarter century. There has been progress towards this goal in various places - expansion of preprint servers, growth of #openaccess, funder mandates, creation of overlay journals. But progress has been frustratingly slow.
Read 15 tweets

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