eLife is excited to announce a new approach to peer review and publishing in medicine, including public health and health policy.
One of the most notable impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic has been the desire to share important results and discoveries quickly, widely and openly, leading to rapid growth of the preprint server medRxiv. Despite the benefits of rapid, author-driven publication in accelerating research and democratising access to results, the growing number of clinical preprints means that individuals and institutions may act quickly on new information before it is adequately scrutinised.
To address this challenge, eLife is bringing its system of editorial oversight by practicing clinicians and clinician-investigators, and rigorous, consultative peer review to preprints. The journal’s goal is to produce ‘refereed preprints’ on medRxiv that provide readers and potential users with a detailed assessment of the research, comments on its potential impact, and perspectives on its use. By providing this rich and rapid evaluation of new results, eLife hopes peer-reviewed preprints will become a reliable indicator of quality in medical research, rather than journal impact factor.
eLife has always encouraged the use of preprints for the rapid sharing of new research and has been developing the new ‘publish, then review’ model of publishing since 2019, under the leadership of Editor-in-Chief Michael Eisen. This new system of creating public preprint reviews is the first major product of these efforts. The re-launch of eLife’s Medicine section is the second, and follows the appointment of Deputy Editors in Medicine, Diane Harper and Mone Zaidi, last year.
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eLife’s reinvigorated Medicine section will offer a whole new approach to publishing in medicine, including public health and health policy. We will apply our system of editorial oversight by practicing clinicians and clinician-investigators, and rigorous, consultative peer review to produce public reviews of preprints with significant potential to impact clinical practice. Our goal is to transform unrefereed manuscripts posted on medRxiv into refereed preprints that provide readers and potential users with a detailed assessment of the science, comments on its potential impact, and perspectives on its use. In essence, by providing rich and rapid evaluation of preprints, we hope that refereed preprints become a currency of trust in medicine.
We will continue to operate like a traditional journal, providing authors who submit their preprints to us with feedback from the reviewers and editors, and we will select a subset of papers for formal publication in eLife. Our scope is broad, covering all areas of the health sciences ranging from cellular and murine models of disease, to human genetics and genomic sciences, to therapeutic discovery, to all phases of clinical investigation, to population health outcomes, to health policy and clinical decision making.
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