PeerJ in 2017: A year in scientific review

As 2017 is coming quickly to an end, we would like to take some time to share what we have achieved and to acknowledge the involvement of our authors, editors, reviewers and readers. We have produced a series of infographics to communicate the milestones we’ve reached together and we encourage our community to share.

Before we dig into the stats, here is a quick snapshot of what we have become. PeerJ is an open access publisher with a mission to make publishing affordable, fast, and easier for researchers and institutions alike.

There are currently 3 places to submit your research at PeerJ:

  • PeerJ – our peer-reviewed open access megajournal for Biology, Medicine, and Environmental Sciences
  • PeerJ Computer Science –  our peer-reviewed open access journal covering all subject areas in computer science
  • PeerJ Preprints – a platform for freely sharing non-peer-reviewed versions of manuscripts, conference proceedings and poster presentations. This is a great way for researchers to establish precedent, solicit feedback and share research updates at no cost.

Find out more about why researchers choose PeerJ and how our modern approach to publishing delivers more for less.

What did the PeerJ Community achieve in 2017?

First, let’s focus on the science. We published over 2,000 peer-reviewed articles across PeerJ and PeerJ Computer Science this year, which helped us reach a significant milestone of over 4,000 articles published since 2013.

Another noteworthy development this year is our expansion to include 15 additional subject areas in environmental science in the journal PeerJ. Pressing public requires effective scientific expertise. Environmental Science is a strongly interdisciplinary field, in which open access to high-quality science for a global audience is crucial, now and in the coming decades.

We are excited about this expansion and look forward to supporting further interdisciplinary linkages, now publishing in 151 subject areas. Publishing in a multidisciplinary journal like PeerJ opens up your research to a wider readership and broadens your CV.

Earlier in the year, we delved into indicators of article impact and journal significance and what publication quality means in the 21st century. This year we received an Impact Factor of 2.2 and also shared that our median citation distribution is 5. We looked to provide further context on what these numbers mean and how authors can understand their own reach and influence beyond mere citation counts.

Though we encourage a more nuanced understanding of impact than the Impact Factor alone, we are also sensitive to the fact that citation numbers are still very important for our authors.

Top cited papers of 2017

Here is a look at our highly cited papers of 2017, which are from a wide variety of subject areas. As publishers struggle to innovate to meet 21st century researchers’ needs, this list is a testament to the added value of PeerJ’s diverse editorial board and our efficient editorial system. Citations notoriously take a few years accumulate so the following papers are particularly impressive for becoming so highly cited so quickly.

SymPy: symbolic computing in Python by Aaron Meurer et al.

Vector competence of Anopheles and Culex mosquitoes for Zika virus by Brittany L. Dodson and Jason L. Rasgon

Random sampling causes the low reproducibility of rare eukaryotic OTUs in Illumina COI metabarcoding by Matthieu Leray and Nancy Knowlton

Evolution of the patellar sesamoid bone in mammals by Mark E. Samuels, Sophie Regnault, and John R. Hutchinson

Metabarcoding monitoring analysis: the pros and cons of using co-extracted environmental DNA and RNA data to assess offshore oil production impacts on benthic communities by Olivier Laroche, Susanna A. Wood, Louis A. Tremblay, Gavin Lear, Joanne I. Ellis, and Xavier Pochon

Papers that received significant attention

We received over 4 million pageviews in 2017 – a fantastic achievement and a marked improvement from the last year. As with citations, pageviews don’t tell the whole story of significance, but a broad audience for research is a noteworthy step towards tangible impact. Open access provides great opportunities for engagement with research (within the scientific community and beyond) and we are we are proud of the significant press and social media attention our papers receive.

Here’s a look at some of the papers that received significant attention over the last 12 months:

Investigating the running abilities of Tyrannosaurus rex using stress-constrained multibody dynamic analysis by William I. Sellers , Stuart B. Pond, Charlotte A. Brassey, Philip L. Manning and Karl T. Bates

Record breaking achievements by spiders and the scientists who study them by Stefano Mammola, Peter Michalik, Eileen A. Hebets and Marco Isaia

Gender differences and bias in open source: pull request acceptance of women versus men by Josh Terrell, Andrew Kofink, Justin Middleton, Clarissa Rainear, Emerson Murphy-Hill, Chris Parnin and Jon Stallings

Off the scale: a new species of fish-scale gecko (Squamata: Gekkonidae: Geckolepis) with exceptionally large scales by Mark D. Scherz , Juan D. Daza, Jörn Köhler, Miguel Vences and Frank Glaw

True’s beaked whale (Mesoplodon mirus) in Macaronesia by Natacha Aguilar de Soto et al.

Find more about these articles in our author interview series on the blog.

Many thanks for your commitment to Open Access!

PeerJ is a community of dedicated individuals making open science a reality. Publishing quality science and making it easier for researchers to embrace open practices is a coordinated effort made possible by scientists around the world. We would like to thank our community for making this year the best year yet!

Stay tuned for more great science in 2018. We’ll be highlighting subject-specific achievements and PeerJ Preprints in the coming weeks. Do feel free to comment and share more about your scientific achievements on Twitter at #PeerJStats2017. We’ll be sure to retweet.

Happy holidays from the PeerJ Team!