Celebrating community growth and Open Science – PeerJ’s 2018 in review

As 2018 comes to an end, we would like to take a moment and recognize the significant efforts of our staff, authors, editors, reviewers, and many collaborators over this past year. And what a year it has been at PeerJ! We are proud to share it has been another landmark year publishing excellent science and contributing to the development of Open Science worldwide.

Over the next few days, we will be highlighting the notable achievements and standout articles from the last year across our platforms. And a quick reminder that we are expanding in 2019 to launch five new peer-reviewed Open Access Chemistry journals.

5 years of publishing: PeerJ – the Journal of Life & Environmental Sciences

Our flagship journal PeerJ – the Journal of Life & Environmental Sciences celebrated five years of publishing earlier this year. With this milestone reached, we have demonstrated how a modern journal can operate to make open access fast, affordable and easy for thousands of researchers.

As part of our 5-year celebrations, all articles submitted during the month of February were free to publish. We were thrilled to see so many researchers join in with our celebrations.

After five years of publishing and many discussions with our editors and authors, it was also time to give our mega-journal editorial model a ‘reboot’ to incorporate more community feedback and involvement through Section Editors. Given the growth of PeerJ – the Journal of Life & Environmental Sciences, we wanted to ensure sufficient oversight and direction of our Editorial Board for years to come. The one hundred plus subject areas were grouped into12 sections, each with two appointed Section Editors at the helm.

Section Editors have two primary responsibilities. First, the Section Editors now have “sign off” authority over Academic Editors within their section for reject and accept decisions. This change was instituted to create more consensus in a journal publishing thousands of articles per year. Secondly, Section Editors help to curate and highlight important new research findings published within their sections.

You can view academic commentary from the Section Editors and other academic editors at the top of each Section page. You can also filter articles by recent publications, citations, ratings, and pageviews. Or check out the latest analytics on citations and downloads across the entire Section.

Top three most-viewed articles of 2018 in each PeerJ Section:

Aquatic Biology

  • Citizen science data suggest that a novel rig improves landing rate and reduces injury and handling time in recreational angling with artificial lures in Baltic pike (Esox lucius) by Bursell JJ,  Arlinghaus R. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4744
  • Effectiveness of five personal shark-bite deterrents for surfers by Huveneers C, Whitmarsh S, Thiele M, Meyer L, Fox A, Bradshaw CJA. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5554
  • Satellite tagging highlights the importance of productive Mozambican coastal waters to the ecology and conservation of whale sharks by Rohner CA, Richardson AJ, Jaine FRA, Bennett MB, Weeks SJ, Cliff G, Robinson DP, Reeve-Arnold KE, Pierce SJ. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4161

Biochemistry, Biophysics, Molecular Biology

  • Eukaryotes in the gut microbiota in myalgic encephalomyelitis/chronic fatigue syndrome by Mandarano AH, Giloteaux L, Keller BA, Levine SM, Hanson MR. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4282
  • Genus-level phylogeny of cephalopods using molecular markers: current status and problematic areas by Sanchez G, Setiamarga DHE, Tuanapaya S, Tongtherm K, Winkelmann IE, Schmidbaur H, Umino T, Albertin C, Allcock L, Perales-Raya C, Gleadall I, Strugnell JM, Simakov O, Nabhitabhata J. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4331
  • Human anti-HIV IgM detection by the OraQuick ADVANCE® Rapid HIV 1/2 Antibody Test by Guillon G, Yearwood G, Snipes C, Boschi D, Reed MR. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4430

Biodiversity and Conservation

  • Regenerative agriculture: merging farming and natural resource conservation profitably by LaCanne CE, Lundgren JG. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4428
  • Giant worms chez moi! Hammerhead flatworms (Platyhelminthes, Geoplanidae, Bipalium spp., Diversibipalium spp.) in metropolitan France and overseas French territories by Justine J, Winsor L, Gey D, Gros P, Thévenot J. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4672
  • Primates in peril: the significance of Brazil, Madagascar, Indonesia and the Democratic Republic of the Congo for global primate conservation by Estrada A, Garber PA, Mittermeier RA, Wich S, Gouveia S, Dobrovolski R, Nekaris KAI, Nijman V, Rylands AB, Maisels F, Williamson EA, Bicca-Marques J, Fuentes A, Jerusalinsky L, Johnson S, Rodrigues de Melo F, Oliveira L, Schwitzer C, Roos C, Cheyne SM, Martins Kierulff MC, Raharivololona B, Talebi M, Ratsimbazafy J, Supriatna J, Boonratana R, Wedana M, Setiawan A. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4869

Bioinformatics and Genomics

Brain and Cognition

  • Pupillometry reveals the physiological underpinnings of the aversion to holes by Ayzenberg V, Hickey MR, Lourenco SF. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4185
  • Illusory resizing of the painful knee is analgesic in symptomatic knee osteoarthritis by Stanton TR, Gilpin HR, Edwards L, Moseley GL, Newport R. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5206
  • No tears in heaven: did the media create the pseudo-phenomenon “altitude-adjusted lachrymosity syndrome (AALS)”? by Wicks P, Lancashire L. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4569


  • A brief introduction to mixed effects modelling and multi-model inference in ecology by Harrison XA, Donaldson L, Correa-Cano ME, Evans J, Fisher DN, Goodwin CED, Robinson BS, Hodgson DJ, Inger R. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4794
  • Are pumas subordinate carnivores, and does it matter? by Elbroch LM, Kusler A. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4293
  • Genus-level phylogeny of cephalopods using molecular markers: current status and problematic areas by Sanchez G, Setiamarga DHE, Tuanapaya S, Tongtherm K, Winkelmann IE, Schmidbaur H, Umino T, Albertin C, Allcock L, Perales-Raya C, Gleadall I, Strugnell JM, Simakov O, Nabhitabhata J. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4331

Environmental Sciences

  • Geo-referencing bird-window collisions for targeted mitigation by Winton RS, Ocampo-Peñuela N, Cagle N. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4215
  • Geologic and anthropogenic sources of contamination in settled dust of a historic mining port city in northern Chile: health risk implications by Tapia JS, Valdés J, Orrego R, Tchernitchin A, Dorador C, Bolados A, Harrod C. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4699
  • Species identification by conservation practitioners using online images: accuracy and agreement between experts by Austen GE, Bindemann M, Griffiths RA, Roberts DL. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4157


  • Agrichemicals and antibiotics in combination increase antibiotic resistance evolution by Kurenbach B, Hill AM, Godsoe W, van Hamelsveld S, Heinemann JA. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5801
  • Effects of tobacco smoke and electronic cigarette vapor exposure on the oral and gut microbiota in humans: a pilot study by Stewart CJ, Auchtung TA, Ajami NJ, Velasquez K, Smith DP, De La Garza R II, Salas R, Petrosino JF. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4693
  • Is there a link between aging and microbiome diversity in exceptional mammalian longevity? by Hughes GM, Leech J, Puechmaille SJ, Lopez JV, Teeling EC. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4174

Paleontology and Evolutionary Science

  • The oldest Archaeopteryx (Theropoda: Avialiae): a new specimen from the Kimmeridgian/Tithonian boundary of Schamhaupten, Bavaria by Rauhut OWM, Foth C, Tischlinger H. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4191
  • A new southern Laramidian ankylosaurid, Akainacephalus johnsoni gen. et sp. nov., from the upper Campanian Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah, USA by Wiersma JP, Irmis RB. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5016
  • A new tyrannosaurid (Dinosauria: Theropoda) from the Upper Cretaceous Menefee Formation of New Mexico by McDonald AT, Wolfe DG, Dooley AC Jr. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5749

Plant Biology

  • A 250 plastome phylogeny of the grass family (Poaceae): topological support under different data partitions by Saarela JM, Burke SV, Wysocki WP, Barrett MD, Clark LG, Craine JM, Peterson PM, Soreng RJ, Vorontsova MS, Duvall MR. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4299
  • Genome-Enhanced Detection and Identification (GEDI) of plant pathogens by Feau N, Beauseigle S, Bergeron M, Bilodeau GJ, Birol I, Cervantes-Arango S, Dhillon B, Dale AL, Herath P, Jones SJM, Lamarche J, Ojeda DI, Sakalidis ML, Taylor G, Tsui CKM, Uzunovic A, Yueh H, Tanguay P, Hamelin RC. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4392
  • Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica): an analysis of capacity to cause structural damage (compared to other plants) and typical rhizome extension by Fennell M, Wade M, Bacon KL https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5246

Zoological Science

  • A new small-bodied ornithopod (Dinosauria, Ornithischia) from a deep, high-energy Early Cretaceous river of the Australian–Antarctic rift system by Herne MC, Tait AM, Weisbecker V, Hall M, Nair JP, Cleeland M, Salisbury SW. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4113
  • Function matters: a review of terminological differences in applied and basic clicker training research by Dorey NR, Cox DJ. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.5621
  • Distinctive courtship phenotype of the Vogelkop Superb Bird-of-Paradise Lophorina niedda Mayr, 1930 confirms new species status by Scholes E, Laman TG. https://doi.org/10.7717/peerj.4621

We’re looking forward to more great science in 2019. Stay tuned for top viewed articles in PeerJ Computer Science and PeerJ Preprints later this week. Thanks again to our inspiring community of academic editors, reviewers and authors.

Happy holidays from the PeerJ Team!