PeerJ in 2012: From idea to reality

2012 has been an interesting year, here at PeerJ.

The planning for PeerJ (which was originally called OpenRePub) was begun by Jason Hoyt, back in November 2011 with the release of a small landing page, followed by a blog in January 2012. Both were intended to test the reaction to an Open Access publisher, which would provide a way for authors to publish their articles in a high quality venue for just $99, for life. Despite this low key launch, the site was noticed by a small number of people, and the idea was clearly one that excited people.

After the encouragement of those early responses, Jason sought out a co-Founder (Pete Binfield) and together, they spent several months fleshing out the plan, coming up with a new name (!), making sure everything would work as intended, and seeking a first round of financing to get the company off the ground. With that groundwork in place, it was halfway through 2012 (on June 12th) that PeerJ formally announced its existence. That announcement generated considerable attention in the media and wider blogosphere – a selection of early coverage can be seen at this blog post, and choice quotes are highlighted here. Soon after, a Wikipedia page was created, and on June 25th PeerJ even made it onto the homepage of the main Wikipedia site!

Then began several months of preparation before we could open for actual submissions. Key hires were made and as a team we took on the job of building a tech-oriented publishing company, complete with custom built submission, peer review and publication software, entirely from scratch.

By July 11th, a month after our initial launch, we were in a position to announce the first 150 members of our Editorial Board, and as of today, we have over 725 Academic Editors on the Board (including 20 Advisors, of which 5 are Nobel Laureates). The Editorial Board of any journal represents an important group of expert gatekeepers, who vet and review the submissions – we are privileged to have such a high class group of people on our Board.

By November, our submission and peer review system was in a good enough state for Alpha and then Beta testing, and so throughout that month we took submissions from early Beta submitters. Over 80 submissions were made in this phase, and feedback from the testers was outstanding. With this behind us, we announced a public Call for Papers for 3rd December, and since that date we have been fully open for submissions with a stated intent to publish our first articles in early 2013.

So all in all, a very busy year for all of us here at PeerJ, but a very satisfying one. We end the year with an outstanding Board; a submission and peer review system which truly raises the bar in academic publishing; and with a large group of amazing submissions passing through our peer review system. As we look back on a year in review, we are poised to publish our first articles in early 2013 – just one year after the idea was floated in the wider world.

We look forward to 2013, and we look forward to seeing your submissions!