The Launch of PeerJ

by | Feb 12, 2013 | regular

Today, February 12th 2013, we are very pleased to announce the publication of the first 30 PeerJ articles. Normally the launch of a new journal would be accompanied by an editorial in the pages of the first issue, but here at PeerJ we do things a little bit differently – we only publish Research Articles, and we don’t have issues, so we are marking the launch with a blog post.

We wanted to take this opportunity to express our hopes and our Vision for PeerJ.

The output of academia is amongst the most valuable content that our society produces, and yet for hundreds of years it has been accessible to only a few wealthy consumers in positions of privilege. With the advent of the internet and the World Wide Web, we were given a golden opportunity to dramatically improve the distribution and accessibility of the intellectual output of the world for the betterment of all. And yet, despite the fact that 23 years have passed since the web was invented, it is still a fact that the vast majority of academic articles are owned by their publisher; are severely restricted in their re-use; and are available only to the wealthiest of consumers. This hampers research; it hampers development; and we are all diminished as a result. It is not overstating the situation to say that lives are lost because academic research is often ineffectually distributed.

The Open Access movement has made great strides, but there is still a long way to go before all academic content can be freely read, broadly distributed and openly re-used by anyone, regardless of geography, education or wealth. A long way, but it is a worthy trip to undertake.

And so this is why we believe so strongly in the mission of PeerJ. We want to be a catalyst for change within the system of academic communication. We want  to publish science in an effective, efficient, rapid, innovative, respectful, professional and, above all ‘Open’ manner. Others have pioneered this trail, and we stand on their shoulders, but our personal mission is to take what they have built and push it further. After all, if what we achieve makes even the slightest difference, then the net benefit to society will be amplified tremendously.

There are four main elements to what we aim to achieve:

#1 – We will help to make all academic publishing Open. All of our content will be published with a CC-BY license, and will be distributed in as reusable a format as possible. By doing so, and by being successful at it, we hope to play a part in catalyzing change and accelerating the movement to full Open Access.

#2 – We will innovate in everything we do. We are a tech driven publisher, and we will learn the lessons of the technology sector. Features will be rapidly developed and rolled out; we will never stagnate; we will always look forward; we will not fear innovation.

#3 – We will serve academia. We answer to academics, not shareholders and our decisions will always be guided by whether or not this advances academic development in some way.

#4 – We will do all of the above at a minimal cost to the creators, and zero cost to the consumers of academic content. At the end of the day, we want to get to a position where it is free to publish, as well as free to read, all academic output. With the help of the academic community, we believe we will get there.

And we are not alone – we have recruited almost 800 world class Academic Editors to the Editorial Board, and they believe in our Mission. And we have an Advisory Board of 20, including 5 Nobel Laureates, and they believe in our Mission as well. With the support of people like this, and the larger community of academia, we are convinced that we are on the right path.

For those of you still curious about what we do, and how we do it, please check out our ‘How it Works’ page and our FAQ. For those of you looking out for PeerJ PrePrints, you have to wait just a little bit longer – that functionality will launch in the next few weeks.

If you are reading this post then you are a catalyst for change. Please spread the word with your colleagues, sign up for a PeerJ membership, submit your work to PeerJ, and welcome onboard!

The Peerj Team

Also see this post explaining some of the functionality of PeerJ.

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