Year One – An Interview with the PeerJ Co-Founders

The Queen celebrates two birthdays each year, and so does PeerJ!

We announced PeerJ the company on June 12, 2012, but we published our first PeerJ articles on Feb 12, 2013. So today, we are very pleased to announce that this is the one-year anniversary of PeerJ publications! So far, we have published the work of thousands of Authors with the invaluable input of many hundreds of Academic Editors and peer-reviewers.Twenty universities are now providing their faculty with centrally funded PeerJ Publication Plans, and our output continues to grow.

To note this date, Sophie Kusy (who conducts the PeerJ author interviews) interviewed Jason Hoyt and Pete Binfield (PeerJ Co-Founders).

– What are the highlights—successes and challenges—from PeerJ’s first year of publication?

The most challenging aspect for any new journal, or organization for that matter, is trust. Everyone involved from editors, reviewers, authors, readers citing PeerJ, even to our staff want to know that the commitments they make today will be honored and beneficial in the future. Prestige and trust simply don’t appear overnight – they have to be built over the long run. And it starts with founders who are dedicated to the cause and willing to stick their necks out.

The good news is that we are already being recognized for our editorial standards, professionalism, and quality. We might be new, but we believe that we’ve really raised the bar for what it means to be an academic publisher in the Web era – sooner or later people recognize a service that is genuine.

– A core belief for the PeerJ team is to ‘keep innovating’. What features did you implement in the past year? What innovations are next?

We built out our own submission and review platform, so that we could drastically improve the user experience of publishing. It’s not that things are absolutely perfect with the software today, but it is the fact that we now have a toolset unlike any other publisher, allowing us to rapidly improve and enhance the experience, which makes this innovative.

In terms of a specific feature one of the neatest things we’ve built is a way to give insight into the hidden contributions that researchers make; such as editing and reviewing manuscripts. For example, since we keep track of how often reviewers name themselves, we are able to surface work that would normally never be considered as part of the research process. It’s early days, but you can imagine there is a lot that could be done to further recognize the contributions of academics with this tool.

– So, is PeerJ working?

Well, we’re still alive! And we’ve now partnered with more than 20 institutions worldwide, so that researchers do not have to worry about paying for Open Access. PeerJ is growing at a very nice and expected pace. We think this answers the question of whether or not high quality academic publishing can be done at dramatically cheaper prices.

– To what can you attribute this success?

Without a doubt the PeerJ team is what makes this possible – without them we wouldn’t be recognized for our professionalism and standard of service.That in turn has garnered the trust of our Academic Editors and authors. Our goal by the time of our next birthday is to gain the trust of the wider academic community who haven’t had a chance to publish Open Access yet.

We would also like to use the occasion of our one-year anniversary to thank everyone who has believed in PeerJ and given their time, energy, and support to this effort.

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