May 16, 2022

Open Access Publishing: Michael Eisen Named Editor-in-Chief of eLife

From an eLife Announcement:

Michael Eisen

eLife is pleased to announce Michael (Mike) Eisen as its new Editor-in-Chief.

A world leader in advocacy for open science, Eisen, from University of California, Berkeley, and the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI), was chosen following a worldwide search and selection process. In addition to his scientific achievements as an HHMI Investigator and Professor of Molecular and Cell Biology, he has demonstrated outstanding leadership and commitment to reforming research comunication for the benefit of scientists and society.

Eisen takes over from Randy Schekman, eLife’s founding Editor-in-Chief, who stepped down in January to dedicate more time to his role as Chair of the Advisory Council for the Aligning Science Across Parkinson’s initiative.


Eisen played an integral role in kick-starting the open-access movement, which seeks to make the scientific literature freely available to all readers. In 2001, together with his former postdoctoral advisor Patrick Brown (then at Stanford University) and Harold Varmus (formerly director of the National Institutes of Health), Eisen founded Public Library of Science (PLOS), a non-profit advocacy organisation that pioneered open-access publishing. When Eisen founded his own lab in 2000, he made the rare commitment to publish exclusively in open-access journals, and has done so ever since.

“I’m honoured to have been chosen for this role,” Eisen says. “We have made a lot of progress towards making publishing open, fair and effective, but so much remains to be done. The system remains slow and insanely expensive. Our addiction to high-impact factor journals poisons hiring and funding decisions, and distorts the research process. And, most frustratingly, the vast majority of the scientific and medical literature remains locked behind paywalls. I am excited to work with the staff and editors of eLife and the entire research community to finish the job we started two decades ago. Together we can build a publishing system driven not by profit, but by service to science, scientists and the public who make our work possible.”

He adds: “The reputation eLife has developed as a publisher of outstanding research, innovator in peer review and publishing technology, and advocate for the values of the scientific community, as well as the continued support it receives from key research funders, has positioned the journal to be the key catalyst for transforming the publication of results in life science and biomedical research.”

Eisen will work with the organisation’s Product, Innovation and Technology teams to help build open-source tools that improve the communication of new research. “Having the community take control of the tools that are used to publish and manage our literature is central to our mission,” he says. “Our goal is to ensure that everyone has access to the infrastructure needed to openly disseminate, review and curate the research literature.”

He will also provide strong support for eLife initiatives, such as the work of the Early-Career Advisory Group and the eLife Ambassadors’ programme, to ensure that the entire community helps to shape the future of eLife and research communication.

See Also: Michael Eisen Info/Bio Pages from UC Berkeley and Howard Hughes Medical Institute

VIDEO: Presentation by Michael Eisen

Slow, Closed, Expensive And Ineffective: How Science Publishing Is Killing Science And How To Fix It
Presentation by Michael Eisen on June 22, 2018 at EMBL Forum Science and Society Seminar

About Gary Price

Gary Price ( is a librarian, writer, consultant, and frequent conference speaker based in the Washington D.C. metro area. Before launching INFOdocket, Price and Shirl Kennedy were the founders and senior editors at ResourceShelf and DocuTicker for 10 years. From 2006-2009 he was Director of Online Information Services at, and is currently a contributing editor at Search Engine Land.