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 support@peerj.com.
PeerJ Factsheet
A one-page facts and stats PDF, to help when considering journal options with your co-authors.
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I told my colleagues that PeerJ is a journal where they need to publish if they want their paper to be published quickly and with the strict peer review expected from a good journal.
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General FAQ

PeerJ, the peer-reviewed journal in biology, life sciences, environmental sciences and medicine, has an Impact Factor of 2.35 according to the 2018 Impact Factor release. To receive an Impact Factor, PeerJ is indexed in the Web of Science databases, including the Journal Citation Reports (JCR).

For those not familiar with this metric, the 2018 Impact Factor is the number of citations in 2018 to articles published in 2016 and 2017 divided by the number of articles published in 2016 and 2017. We understand that the Impact Factor is still very important for some, but we believe individual research articles are best assessed on their own merits rather than the aggregate citation count for the entire journal in which the work is published. This is why we provide article-level metrics on every article and periodically publish PeerJ's citation distribution.

Learn more about PeerJ's Impact Factor and the journal's views on responsible usage.

We hope that the article-level metrics and wider citation transparency encourages more scientists to submit their work to PeerJ and benefit from our award-winning publishing platform, a broad, interdisciplinary audience and high-quality peer review.

View latest articles and editors in your subject area

Learn more about the PeerJ journals

As an alternative to the statistical shortcomings of the Impact Factor, the citation distribution of a journal can be a useful indicator for understanding the spread and variation of citations. Our citation distribution depends on the time frame looked at, however bearing in mind the generally recognised citation time-lag of two years, our typical citation distribution is as follows:

  • 90th percentile: 18.6 citations
  • 75th percentile: 10 citations
  • 50th percentile (median): 5 citations
  • 25th percentile: 2 citations

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

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

  • 90th percentile: 18.6 citations
  • 75th percentile: 10 citations
  • 50th percentile (median): 5 citations
  • 25th percentile: 2 citations

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

While PeerJ started out with member-only publishing, that has since expanded to include more traditional models such as the one-off payment (or Article Processing Charge "APC"). The advantage with the one-off APC is that it is the same price regardless of the number of authors. PeerJ also has numerous institutional arrangements, whereby payment is made directly through the institution.

Note that PeerJ Preprints stopped accepting new submissions on October 1st, 2019.

While some authors choose to add a preprint prior to peer review, there is no requirement to do so. Authors can still choose to preprint elsewhere if they desire, before submitting a peer review version at PeerJ.

Authors have the option to publish the full review history alongside the publication. That decision is entirely up to the authors based on their personal preferences, norms in their field, institution, or region.

The decision to publish the review history will not impact the review decision.

Note that if authors choose to make the review history public then the reviewer names may still be anonymous, unless the reviewers choose to name themselves.

We don't ask that authors go to great lengths to provide all their raw data, we just ask authors to use reasonable judgment as to what data the analysis was based on and would then be reasonably understandable for the Academic Editor, reviewers and readers should the manuscript be accepted. There needs to be enough data that the editor, reviewers and readers can replicate your results, ideally without having to go back to the original source material. It is possible that the editor will ask for more detail.

We understand that at times some data must be kept confidential for privacy reasons. We will work with you to make that clear to involved stakeholders.

For more detailed information please read the section on data and materials sharing in the author guidelines.

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, Zoological Record, the ACS Databases, EMBASE, the DOAJ, AGORA, ARDI, HINARI, OARE, the ProQuest databases, EBSCO databases, and OCLC. Other indexing locations are being added, for example Microsoft Academic Search, MEDLINE, etc.

Learn more about indexing

We operate a traditional "single-blind" process to start. All peer review is performed privately by an assigned Academic Editor and at least two experts invited to review the manuscript. Reviewers have the option to sign their reviews (40% of reviews are signed) and authors can share the review history once published (~80% of authors choose this option). Learn more about peer review at PeerJ.

We publish most content under the prevailing CC BY licence (currently 4.0). This is the same license used by other major Open Access publishers. 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 also offer CC BY-NC (non-commercial), CC0 (or Public Domain equivalent) Open Access licenses.

Academic Editors at PeerJ are experienced researchers who are experts in their respective fields. As a general rule, Academic Editors must be at Principal Investigator level or above and have published 25 or more peer-reviewed journal articles. Editors are vetted before being appointed, and their decisions are overseen for consistency. If you are interested in becoming an Academic Editor, please send a full CV to editor@peerj.com.
We have normal production standards, just like any other publisher. All PeerJ articles are typeset and published in HTML, JSON, XML and PDF versions.

Publishing decisions are made by each individual Academic Editor, not the publisher. As of the end of 2016, our overall Acceptance rate is below 50% (although this varies between subjects etc). See our blog for 2015 acceptance rates.

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 27 days across all subject areas.

PeerJ considers submissions of Research Articles, literature reviews, systemic review/meta-analysis, and bioinformatics tools in the Biological, Medical and Environmental 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.
You may receive emails from the following addresses:
  • accounts@peerj.com General account related items, such as payment and password resets
  • info@peerj.com Submission related transactional emails
  • notifications@peerj.com Content alerts and Discussion notifications
  • newsletter@peerj.com Occasional newsletters
Additionally, for reviewers and editors, we use:
  • peer.review@peerj.com Reviewer transaction emails
  • editorial.support@peerj.com 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."


163.com/126.com users

Please ensure you do the following:

Step #1: Add accounts@peerj.com and info@peerj.com to your whitelist. See the help page on 163.com for instructions.


Step #2: Review your spam settings. See the help page on 163.com for instructions.

Payments FAQ

Note, there is no requirement to become a member, as you can publish with just paying for one "APC" (Article Processing Charge) per article. Additional fees may be required for very long manuscripts.

Pricing for Lifetime Memberships is (from October 1, 2016):

  • Basic: $399
  • Enhanced: $449
  • Premium: $499

Memberships allow for one, two, or five peer-reviewed publications per 12-month period respectively, counting from your last publication to your next first-decision. All authors of a paper require a membership or a single APC charge must be paid instead.

APC pricing

For the peer-reviewed journal the publication fee or APC charge is USD $1,195 for PeerJ – the Journal of Life & Environmental Sciences and $1,195 at PeerJ Computer Science. The five new PeerJ Chemistry journals (PeerJ Physical Chemistry, PeerJ Organic Chemistry, PeerJ Inorganic Chemistry, PeerJ Analytical Chemistry, PeerJ Materials Science) are free. The price is the same regardless of the number of authors.

You may pay at any time after submission, up to the point of a final Accept decision. When a submission is accepted, payment is due before we can proceed to production for typesetting, etc.

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.

No.

Memberships previously required regular reviewing contributions, but this is not the case anymore.

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.

The second option is to pay for the article, rather than individual memberships. Look for the "APC" or article pricing after submitting.

Becoming a PeerJ member is not a requirement, the single article publication fee or "APC" can be paid instead (one price regardless of author number).
You can upgrade at any time or choose the per article APC route.
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. However, we don't want you to feel cheated – upon request, you can get a refund within 60 days of purchasing a Membership (if you have already published with PeerJ then you are no longer eligible for a refund). If you pre-paid for an APC and your article is rejected or withdrawn before Acceptance, then you can receive a 100% refund on your APC payment.
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 are made by independent Academic Editors who make decisions solely on the science (and we allow Appeals if you feel a bad decision has been made). And finally, editorial decisions have nothing to do with the status of your publishing plan (free or paid).
Yes. Use the institutional publishing plan form to request information or ask us any questions.

We hope you agree that PeerJ's publication fees are already great value with the low APC and lifetime memberships! 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 membership 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 membership 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). This is valid if paying through the Membership route rather than APC. 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 https://peerj.com/settings/account/ 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.