Award winning Open Access academic publisher PeerJ raises Series A investment from SAGE and O’Reilly

Academic publisher SAGE and PeerJ Inc., publisher of the Open Access journal PeerJ and pre-print server PeerJ PrePrints, are pleased to announce that SAGE has led a new investment as part of a second round of funding for PeerJ. With the investment, SAGE joins follow-on investments from OATV, O’Reilly Media and Jason Hoyt co-founder of PeerJ. David McCune, non-Executive Director of SAGE will now sit on the PeerJ Board of Directors alongside Tim O’Reilly, CEO and founder of O’Reilly Media, and PeerJ’s two co-founders, CEO Jason Hoyt and Publisher Peter Binfield. With these additional investments, PeerJ still maintains its position as an independent company.

PeerJ uses an innovative business model whereby authors pay a modest, one-time fee for a lifetime publishing plan, giving them the ability to publish their articles openly at no cost to readers. PeerJ and PeerJ PrePrints primarily serve the biological and medical sciences. PeerJ was founded in 2012 by Binfield and Hoyt with initial startup investment from OATV and O’Reilly Media.

SAGE’s investment reflects its commitment to exploring innovative publishing models. SAGE was an early advocate for open access publishing, forming a partnership with Hindawi Publishing Corporation in 2007. SAGE was also a founding board member of OASPA in 2008 and has since launched a number of titles – including SAGE Open, the first broad spectrum open access title aimed specifically at the behavioral and social science communities, which recently published its 600th paper. SAGE plans to release more titles across both HSS and STM disciplines in the coming months, including the flagship “Research & Politics” and “Big Data & Society.”

McCune commented, “I’m proud to be joining PeerJ’s Board of Directors, who share SAGE’s commitment to learning, scholarship and high quality research and we at SAGE applaud their pioneering spirit.”

“We have watched with interest PeerJ’s bold and original approach to open access publishing and we are excited about the philosophy that fuels it,” added David Ross, Global Head of Open Access at SAGE. “Different sectors of the scholarly communications market have different needs, and the PeerJ model helps address that. One size does not fit all, and SAGE’s mission is to foster a healthy and diverse publication ecosystem.”

“PeerJ has spent the last year demonstrating market fit and strong customer demand,” said Hoyt. “In that time, we have published nearly 900 articles across both PeerJ and PeerJ PrePrints representing the work of almost 3,000 authors. At the same time, we have won significant accolades, including the 2013 ALPSP Award for Publishing Innovation. This shows that practicing academics consider PeerJ beneficial to both their chosen field and careers, and this hasn’t gone unnoticed by other players within the industry. With the additional capital from this round we will be able to further develop our offering, as well as promote ourselves much more broadly to the wider academic community.”

Binfield added “We are also very happy to have the involvement of David McCune, and SAGE Publications. As well as being a well-respected academic publisher and leader in the social sciences, SAGE has been actively exploring open access – as such, we believe that there will be interesting lessons to be learnt by both companies as we go forward.”