eLife launches service to peer review preprints on bioRxiv

eLife is pleased to announce today the launch of Preprint Review, which brings high-quality peer review to the preprint server bioRxiv.

Preprint Review offers authors who have embraced the speed and efficiency of sharing their research as preprints the opportunity to have eLife review their work directly on bioRxiv and simultaneously considered for publication in the journal.

“The explosion of COVID-related papers on bioRxiv and medRxiv demonstrates the important role preprints can have in accelerating science,” says Michael Eisen, Editor-in-Chief of eLife. “But it also highlights how urgently we need a fast and effective system to help readers navigate and assess the reliability of new reports.”

Since its inception, eLife has worked to improve transparency in peer review and more effectively convey the assessment of reviewers to authors and readers. This ambition is reflected in the journal’s current process, where anyone can read the peer-review reports and editors’ assessment for all published eLife papers. Preprint Review is a further step, ensuring that everyone, not just authors, can benefit directly from the hard work of expert editors and reviewers.

“As we have just seen with COVID-19, preprints are a fantastic way for rapid dissemination of new findings,” comments Bill Hansson, Vice President of the Max Planck Society, Germany. “However, as we also have learned, it is often difficult for other scientists, and even more so for the general public, to judge the importance and quality of the work in these preprints. Preprint Review presents an innovative way forward for attaching more value to preprints.”

Robert Kiley, Head of Open Research at Wellcome, adds: “Through Preprint Review, eLife continues to demonstrate its commitment to changing the scholarly communications system. We applaud this development to speed up peer review and towards making it more open and transparent.”

“Open annotations. The current annotation count on this page is 0.Manuscripts submitted to Preprint Review will bypass editorial selection and, subject to availability of editors, proceed directly to peer review. Review will be carried out in the same way as other submissions: an eLife editor will solicit feedback from several experts in the field and, after their assessments, the editors and reviewers will consult and make a publishing decision.

The innovative aspect of Preprint Review is that, irrespective of the publishing decision, the reviews will be posted to bioRxiv, where they will appear alongside the manuscript.

Erin O’Shea, President of the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), Chevy Chase, US, says: “Preprint Review is an important step towards realising HHMI’s vision of biomedical publishing that couples rapid dissemination via preprints and rigorous peer review from established and trusted editorial boards. We believe this is the future and are excited to see how it develops.”

“Preprint Review gives authors a chance to have their preprints stand out as having been vetted by rigorous peer review,” adds Deputy Editor Anna Akhmanova, “before submitting for formal publication in an established journal. We’re optimistic that authors will find significant value in Preprint Review and that journals and societies will have new opportunities around the curation of the literature.”

For more details about Preprint Review and how to opt into the process, read eLife’s announcement at https://elifesciences.org/inside-elife/d0c5d114/new-from-elife-invitation-to-submit-to-preprint-review.

Eisen’s original blog post describing Preprint Review is available to read at https://elifesciences.org/inside-elife/e9091cea/peer-review-new-initiatives-to-enhance-the-value-of-elife-s-process.