Frequent Questions

Many common questions and answers about PeerJ and its publications can be found here

If you still have a question, please email us at

General FAQ

PeerJ, the peer-reviewed journal in biology, life sciences, and medicine, received a first (partial) Impact Factor of 2.1 in June 2015.

For those not familiar with this metric, the 2014 Impact Factor is the number of citations in 2014 to articles published in 2012 and 2013 divided by the number of articles published in 2012 and 2013. Our very first Impact Factor can be classed as partial, because PeerJ only began publishing articles in February 2013, therefore the citation data was drawn from only 10.5 months of published articles rather than the standard 24 months. A full impact factor can be expected in 2016. Learn more about PeerJ's Impact Factor and the journal's views on responsible usage.

To receive an Impact Factor PeerJ is indexed in the Web of Science databases, including the Journal Citation Reports ('JCR').

View latest articles and editors in your subject area

Learn more about PeerJ's peer-reviewed and preprint journals

That of course depends on the time frame looked at, however taking the typical time frame of two years then the citation distribution as of May 2015 is:

  • 90th percentile: 10.8 citations
  • 75th percentile: 8 citations
  • 50th percentile (median): 4 citations
  • 25th percentile: 2 citations

And remember that many more download, read, and utilize than ever formally cite a paper.

PeerJ is fully indexed in PubMed, PubMed Central (PMC), the Science Citation Index Expanded (aka the Web of Science), the Journal Citation Reports (the journal received a 2014 Impact Factor), Google Scholar, Scopus, Europe PMC, Biological Abstracts, BIOSIS Previews, CAB Abstracts, the ACS Databases, EMBASE, the DOAJ, AGORA, ARDI, HINARI, and OARE. Other indexing locations are being added, for example Microsoft Academic Search, MEDLINE, etc.

Learn more about indexing

We publish all content under the prevailing CC-BY licence (currently 4.0). This is the same license used by other major Open Access publishers (such as PLoS or BioMedCentral, for example). Anyone who re-uses the published content must attribute the author(s) and the original source, but otherwise they are free to re-use it as they see fit. This license meets all definitions of ‘true’ Open Access, and complies with any institutional or funder OA mandates that may exist.
We have normal production standards, just like any other publisher. All PeerJ articles are typeset and published in HTML, JSON, XML and PDF versions. Publications in PeerJ PrePrints get basic conversion into PDF.
The individual publishing decisions will be up to each individual Academic Editor, not the publisher. That said, the acceptance rate of PeerJ is similar to other journals that ask peer reviewers to judge the merits of a manuscript based solely on the soundness of its methodology and conclusions, rather than novelty or expected impact. As such, this means the acceptance rate has a range of 60-70% depending on the subject area. With this in mind we do our best to get a first decision back to authors as rapidly as possible, where the current time has a median of just 22 days across all subject areas.

PeerJ considers submissions of Research Articles in the Biological and Medical Sciences (this scope includes, for example, disciplines such as the life & biological sciences; biotechnology; basic medical sciences; medical specialties; health sciences and other similar fields).

PeerJ Computer Science covers most areas of computer science

For a full list of subjects, visit our subjects page.

PeerJ judges content only on scientific and methodological soundness. It does not, for example, reject articles based on lack of novelty, interest or impact.

It places an emphasis on research integrity; high ethical standards; and constructive peer-review. Learn more about our Editorial Criteria See how to write a rebuttal
This is a question about the long term archiving of the scholarly record, and there are several industry standard solutions that address this problem. In real-time, we archive our content at PubMed Central; and using two industry standard services called CLOCKSS/LOCKSS and Portico, of which PeerJ is a member. Short of the implosion of the entire Internet, your research will be archived for future generations no matter what happens to PeerJ. A blog post addresses this issue.
It’s "peer-jay". We use the word ‘Peer’ because we are dealing with a community of peers and because the journal is peer-reviewed. As to 'J' - we wanted to avoid using the word “Journal” as that concept may disappear in the future, however at the moment everyone knows and understands what a journal is. Therefore, the letter "J" 'suggests' journal, but does not necessarily stand for the word Journal. Also read a blog post on this question.
A large (and growing) number of journals do not have any problem considering articles that previously appeared as preprints. For example, all journals published by Springer, almost all of the journals published by Elsevier, the whole of Nature Publishing Group, all the PLOS journals etc. For summary information see Wikipedia and Romeo/Sherpa.

Finally, remember that journals have differing policies on this issue, and so you should always check with the journal in question.
You may receive emails from the following addresses:
  • General account related items, such as payment and password resets
  • Submission related transactional emails
  • Content alerts and Discussion notifications
  • Occasional newsletters
Additionally, for reviewers and editors, we use:
  • Reviewer transaction emails
  • Editorial transaction email
Please ensure that you whitelist these email addresses (add to your contact list/address book).

Gmail users

Please also check your "Promotions" tab if you have tabs enabled, in addition to your spam folder.

Step #1: Go to the promotions tab and find any emails from PeerJ that you instead would like to receive in your "Primary" tab.

Step #2: Drag the email over to the "Primary" tab. Or right click and choose "Move to tab" then "Primary." users

Please ensure you do the following:

Step #1: Add and to your whitelist. See the help page on for instructions.

Step #2: Review your spam settings. See the help page on for instructions.

Publishing Plan/Fee FAQ

PeerJ started out with per author Memberships. However, some organizations do not allow personal memberships for reimbursement.

Another reason is that our mission is to make high quality Open Access and peer-reviewed publishing as affordable as possible. Some articles may have a lot of authors, and so the APC fixed price would be the cheaper option.

Finally, for some the fixed per article "APC" is easier to explain to co-authors or funding agencies.

Not at the moment. You can still pay the "APC" per article charge if that is the cheaper option for you versus new memberships for co-authors.

Yes. You can pay for yourself, a few, or all of your co-authors in a single payment. Once you have submitted your manuscript you will see the payment options at the bottom of your manuscript dashboard.

You don't have to wait to submit either, use the multi-author/group payment form after which you will receive a paid publishing plan link to share with each of them.

Authors who choose to pay for a publishing plan at submission get the cheapest rates, however authors can choose to submit for 'free' and pay only once accepted - in that instance their publication rates are slightly higher.

Our base model is for you to get a publishing plan on or before submission. However, when you pay at the point of submission, then there is the risk that having taken your money, we still unfortunately reject your manuscript. Therefore, you might not want to take this risk. In addition, because this is a new business model, people are not necessarily used to paying on submission.

We want everyone to be comfortable with their PeerJ experience, therefore we also allow people to submit for free. However, in that instance they need to pay after final acceptance and before final publication.

If you pay for a publishing plan at time of submission then you get the cheapest rates available (for example, $99 for the Basic plan), but if you choose to submit for free and pay only upon acceptance then you will pay an additional premium of $50.

Although every author of a paper must have a PeerJ publishing plan, we are not trying to penalize people like you. If your manuscript has more than 12 authors then only 12 authors need to have a paid publishing plan; all others only need a free publishing plan. For example, if your paper has 15 authors, then 3 do not need to pay for a publishing plan (they simply need to take the Free publishing plan, effectively just get a user account with PeerJ). If those same 3 authors want to publish with PeerJ in the future, they may have to get a plan at that time if they publish with 12 or fewer authors on the same paper.
You can upgrade at any time or chose the per article APC route. The top publishing plan (Unlimited Plan) gives you unlimited publications in both PeerJ and PeerJ PrePrints.
Hopefully you'll be publishing in the future with PeerJ and not have to worry! And of course you are at liberty to submit new manuscripts to us, so please try again with a new submission. In addition, your paid plan still gives you plenty of rights to make use of PeerJ PrePrints. However, we don’t want you to feel cheated - upon request, you can get a refund of 80% of whatever you paid. If you have already published with PeerJ then you are no longer eligible for a refund.
No payment is due until after the accept-decision, although there are discounts for Memberships if paid before. PeerJ is an established publisher with a transparent process and we wouldn’t last long if we treated our authors poorly. Secondly all acceptance decisions will be made by independent Academic Editors who will make decisions solely on the science (and we will allow Appeals if you feel a bad decision has been made). And finally, editorial decisions will have nothing to do with the status of your publishing plan (free or paid).

We aim to make PeerJ a community, and no one is forced to provide a review if they choose not to do so. To help the community though, we are incentivizing participation by inviting those with paid publishing plans to submit a review at least once per year (and we consider a 'review' to be an informal comment on a submission to PeerJ PrePrints; a formally requested peer review* of a paper submitted to PeerJ; or an informal comment on a published paper). If you choose not to perform at least one review every 12 months, then at our discretion your publishing plan will lapse and you will need to pay $99 to reactivate your plan the next time you want to publish with PeerJ. We think this give-and-take is fair to the community as it incentivizes participation in the ongoing task of peer review and will collectively reduce everyone's burden.

* Formal peer reviews will come as an invitation from an Academic Editor and only qualified researchers are asked to peer review.

Yes. Use the institutional publishing plan form to request information or ask us any questions.

We hope you agree that $99 for life is already an incredibly good deal! That said, we do recognize that some people are unable to pay this amount. Therefore, we offer a no questions asked fee waiver, on request, to anyone from countries that are classified by the World Bank as Low-income economies. The waiver simply applies to the publication in question, and is not a waiver for a full publishing plan. We only allow one waiver per person per year.

In addition, any co-author who was an undergraduate at the time of the research may request a waiver (provided the paper has senior co-author(s) who have at least a Basic publishing plan, and provided the article passes peer review as normal). Read more about this policy.

Don’t forget that papers typically have more than one author, authors tend to publish in more than one venue over time, and some will publish fewer papers than others. In addition, our cost structure is lower than more traditional publishing companies (which might have legacy systems to deal with, or be aiming to make an excessive profit). When you combine those facts, the finances do work out.

Yes. So for example when you sign up with PeerJ you can use a personal email address (e.g. Gmail, Yahoo), but when confirming your author details in a submission you can choose your institutional email address (corresponding authors emails are published with the manuscript). Since PeerJ publishing plans last a lifetime, this is helpful if you change institutions and no longer have access to the old institutional email (presumably you keep your personal email, Gmail, Yahoo, etc).

To change your PeerJ account email visit after logging in. When you confirm your author details on any submitted manuscript use the link that we email out to you to change the manuscript email.

Many estimates put the average cost of an article in a subscription-based journal at $5,333 ($US). And the most popular Open Access journals still charge more than $1,300 per article. One way or another these costs come out of money that could be going to research.

The millions already saved by publishing with PeerJ is based on the average subscription-based article cost less the cost of authors having published in PeerJ. Divide that number by ~5.5 to get the savings over popular Open Access venues. And remember, this is for life, so subsequent publications from the same author continue to save even more.

Finally, PeerJ PrePrints (research that hasn't been formally peer-reviewed) are free for authors if made public. The research savings would be even greater than that reported on the frontpage if preprints were included.