Interview With PeerJ Editor Keith Crandall

With this week’s publication of the ‘Living Fossil’ tadpole shrimp article, it was fortuitous timing that we had also conducted an interview with the Academic Editor who handled that paper, Professor Keith Crandall. Although Professor Crandall’s comments do not concern that submission in particular, it is very nice that we have been able to publish the article, an interview with the author and an interview with the Academic Editor all in one week! Professor Crandall is Professor & Director of the Computational Biology Institute at George Washington University.


PJ: What do you see as wrong with the current system of publication?

KC: The fundamental problem with the current system is that I have to pay to publish my research, typically from my research funds. In today’s funding environment with success rates at or below 10%, paying to do the research, writing the paper, and then paying to publish seems like a crazy model. Even supposed ‘Open Access’ models require payments of $1500 – $3500 per publication.

PJ: Given your experience, what would an ideal publishing venue look like?

KC: Ideally, we would have peer-to-peer publishing at no expense. We publish for the scientific community. There’s no real reason we need to partner with publishing houses to make money off us to print journals in this day and age. Let’s use technology to our advantage – including our financial advantage. More people will have access to our work, we will not have constraints of publishers (figure limits, black and white, page limits, publication quotas, rejection quotas, etc.), and we can put our research funds on research instead of publishing.

PJ: What are your thoughts about the value of Open Access publishing?

KC: I very much like the concept, but the concept is implemented in very different ways – most of which have me shelling out a lot of cash! This cash comes directly from my research budget.

PJ: What excited you about PeerJ that persuaded you to become an AE?

KC: The one-time fee for the lab coupled with a stellar lineup of folks starting it up really convinced me.

PJ: Which aspects of the PeerJ functionality do you find the most useful or interesting?

KC: I am and/or have been an editor, associate editor at at least 10 different journals. None of their online systems for paper handling nor any of their online publications have been as accessible, or as beautiful, as the PeerJ system. It’s truly unique.

PJ: Great to hear! Anything else you might want to talk about?

KC: Yes, open access of the data as well as the publication. We need to think about having similar venues for data associated with papers so these data can be better capitalized on for synthetic studies.

PJ: Many thanks for your time!

If you like what you hear about PeerJ, then try us for yourself. PeerJ is now open for your submissions at and we are also now accepting preprints at

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