Author case studies

Robert Johansson

Research in clinical psychology. Main areas of interests: Depression, Anxiety disorders - treatment, assessment and mechanisms of change during treatment. Additional interests: Internet-based and computerized psychological treatments, short-term psychodynamic therapies and/or emotion-focused treatments, etc.

- View Robert's full list of contributions in PeerJ

This ‘Interview With an Author’ is with three time PeerJ author Robert Johansson. Robert is a PhD student at Linköping University in Sweden and has just had his second ("Affect-focused psychodynamic psychotherapy for depression and anxiety through the Internet: a randomized controlled trial”) and third ("Depression, anxiety and their comorbidity in the Swedish general population: point prevalence and the effect on health-related quality of life”) PeerJ articles published. As you can see below - he has had a fantastic experience with us.

PJ: Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

Yes, I work as a clinical psychologist in Norrköping, Sweden and as a researcher (PhD candicate) in clinical psychology at Linköping University. My research is conducted in the "Internet, health and clinical psychology research group" led by professor Gerhard Andersson. The research I do is in the field of Internet-delivered psychological treatments where my main focus has been to develop new enhanced treatment protocols that address depression and its comorbidity. I also have a background in computer science, where I saw the value of the community developing open source software and free software. That is probably one of the reasons that I think all research should be Open Access.

PJ: With this research, why did you choose to publish in PeerJ rather than some other venue?

RJ: First of all, I think Open Access is really important these days. I really don’t like how a lot of research becomes unreachable even for the researchers themselves. For example, my own university does not have access to one of the journals that we ourselves consider as our “top journal". Another example is that I recently noticed one of the top researchers in my field asked on a mailing list for a new publication written by one of the other top researchers in the field. It really struck me then how crazy this system is, not even the most prominent researchers in a field can access the latest research in his/her own field! So, I think Open Access is one important step in accelerating research and of course also very important for researchers outside the prestigious universities who could afford paying for all subscriptions.

Personally, I will make my whole PhD thesis Open Access. My two first papers from the thesis were published in PLOS ONE, and therefore I wanted the last two to also be published as Open Access. That was one of the reasons we chose PeerJ this time. Moreover, deadlines for thesis were tight and it was important for me to have all papers published in the final print, so I hoped that PeerJ could be as fast as needed. I was NOT disappointed!

Finally, I really like the look of PeerJ and that it’s possible to publish your own art in it. That was another reason for publishing in PeerJ.

PJ: How did you first hear about PeerJ?

RJ: I read about PeerJ on a blog related to open access research in the summer of 2012. I remember registering as soon as possible - around August 2012 if I remember correctly. Shortly thereafter, my professor Gerhard Andersson became an academic editor for PeerJ. We then submitted a paper ("Personality change after Internet-delivered cognitive behavior therapy for depression") at the end of last year and I really liked how everything was handled then.

PJ: What has been your experience of the submission process?

RJ: Simply marvelous. There are so many horrible submission systems out there and using the one at PeerJ was pure happiness. You could tell that it was designed by people who really had used a lot of other submission systems. Everything “just works" (and it looks really nice too).

PJ: What was your experience of the review process and the overall speed?

RJ: On one of our most recent papers we got comments from two reviewers and the Editor after only nine days! That was really impressive. The entire procedure went from submission to accept in less than three weeks, and that included two rounds of making changes to the manuscript. Simply astonishing! Our other paper went from submit to accept in less than four weeks, which also is really impressive. If PeerJ can keep that speed up in the review process, then I can only imagine what would happen to the number of submissions in the future.
PJ: What did you think of the appearance of the PDF of the published article?

RJ: I think PeerJ simply is one of the most beautiful journals available. There is a perfect balance between minimalism and elegance. In our latest papers we spent many hours ourselves on the figures and it’s really nice to see how good they look in the final product. These days, when there are a lot of alternatives for researchers who want to publish in Open Access, I don’t think you should underestimate the value of beauty the final papers.
PJ: Did any of your colleagues express anything to you about your publication with PeerJ?

RJ: People who see the PeerJ homepage tend to react that it’s really stylish and elegant. I have also heard comments of the look of the final papers - that they’re really good looking.

PJ: Now that you have been through the process a few times, what is the advantage for an author to publish their work a) Open Access and b) with PeerJ

RJ: If PeerJ can keep up the speed in the process, that would mean a lot to the community. That would also put quite a pressure to other journals which in the end would accelerate research in general. I also really like the idea of lifetime membership and how it enables authors to have their own “home journal" in which they can publish for free. It matters a lot these days when publishing in Open Access journals can cost 2000-3000 US dollars.

PJ: And what has been your overall opinion of our process?

RJ: I’m extremely satisfied with the service from PeerJ, the speed in particular, but also the beauty of the published papers which at least for me matters a lot. If you have worked with a project for 2-3 years and finally end the project with a paper, it actually matters what that final product look like. I couldn’t be more satisfied with how the process went.

PJ: Would you submit again, and would you recommend that your colleagues submit?

RJ: Yes, definitely. I can recommend PeerJ 100%. You get fast decisions, a close to perfect submission system and a beautiful end result. Also, you get indexed in PubMed, which in the world of medicine is very important these days.

PJ: Many thanks for your time!

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I already had a relevant paper published in PeerJ, and the second paper ... was a suitable fit for PeerJ PrePrints.
The review process was fantastic - It was transparent and fast
The fact that the editorial board is very strong is a very good feature of the journal
We felt that you had a good editorial policy, good economics and the promise of a fast turn-around
At first I was concerned that our paper would get little attention in a new journal, but that was quickly put to rest

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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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