PeerJ – first impressions are positive

Fig. 5 from  Taylor et al. (2013) Why sauropods had long necks; and why giraffes have short necks. PeerJ 1:e36 http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.36

Fig. 5 from Taylor et al. (2013) Why sauropods had long necks; and why giraffes have short necks. PeerJ 1:e36 http://dx.doi.org/10.7717/peerj.36

Staying with the topic of publishing: when PeerJ was announced last year (see e.g. a Nature News feature), I was a bit skeptical about how this would go, but I have to admit that my impression about the first articles that have been put online this week is quite positive. Not only are there catchy titles such as the article from which I took the figure above (dinosaurs always sell well đŸ˜‰ ):

but also the overall publishing quality seems quite good, the website is functional and fast (except for this weird article timeline they seem to have copied from facebook, this sucks, what’s wrong with a simple list?), also html and pdf are well readable and not much worse than plos one I would say. What I really liked is that authors can opt-in to make the review history public, see e.g. here, I think this is a great option that will hopefully be adopted by more journals. Some more impressions and discussions can be found at, e.g, the Guardian, svpow (author of the neck paper), or we, beasties.

So, at a first glance I would say thumbs up, if they stay in business at these prices, PeerJ shows that a functional OA publishing system doesn’t have to cost $3000 as for large commercial publishers, apparently it can even cost substantially less than the $1350 for Plos one. As Jeremy pointed out in the comments of Jarrett’s post, such a general OA journal type will necessarily not be very selective and therefore probably not of the same average quality as the top journals in each field, but I personally feel we can deal with the filter issue in other ways, e.g. through post-publishing review, recommendations, virtual issues, etc., and it’s certainly good for innovation to have some competition around.

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