eLife is a not-for-profit, peer-reviewed, open access, scientific journal for the biomedical and life sciences. It was established at the end of 2012 by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Max Planck Society, and Wellcome Trust, following a workshop held in 2010 at the Janelia Farm Research Campus. Together, these organizations provided the initial funding to support the business and publishing operations.[2] In 2016, the organizations committed US$26 million to continue publication of the journal.[3]

DisciplineBiomedicine, life sciences
Edited byMichael Eisen
Publication details
eLife Sciences Publications Ltd[1]
LicenseCC-BY 3.0, CC-BY 4.0, and CC0
8.713 (2021)
Standard abbreviations
ISO 4eLife
OCLC no.813236730

The current editor-in-chief is Michael Eisen (University of California, Berkeley).[4][5] Editorial decisions are made largely by senior editors and members of the board of reviewing editors, all of whom are active scientists working in fields ranging from human genetics and neuroscience to biophysics, epidemiology, and ecology.[6]

Business model

eLife is a non-profit organisation, but for long-term sustainability of the service, the journal asks for an article processing charge of US$3,000 for papers accepted for publication.[7] This charge was reduced to US$2,000 in 2022 after the adoption of a new model without accept/reject decisions.[8] Authors with insufficient funding are eligible for a fee waiver.

Abstracting and indexing

The journal is abstracted and indexed in Medline, BIOSIS Previews,[9] Chemical Abstracts Service,[10] Science Citation Index Expanded,[9] and Scopus.[11] According to the Journal Citation Reports, the journal has a 2018 impact factor of 7.080.[12] The journal opposes the over-reliance on the impact factor by the scientific community.[13] In an interview, Howard Hughes Medical Institute then President Robert Tjian reflected on eLife and noted, "The other big thing is, we want to kill the journal impact factor. We tried to prevent people who do the impact factors from giving us one. They gave us one anyway a year earlier than they should have. Don't ask me what it is because I truly don't want to know and don't care."[14]

eLife Podcast

The eLife Podcast is produced by BBC Radio presenter and University of Cambridge consultant virologist Chris Smith of The Naked Scientists.

eLife digests

Most research articles published in the journal include an "eLife digest", a non-technical summary of the research findings aimed at a lay audience. Since December 2014, the journal has been sharing a selection of the digests on the blog publishing platform Medium.[15] eLife also publishes commentary articles called "Insights", which are also written in plainer terms than the research article, but focus more on the context of the research.

Reviewing process

Randy Schekman (the first editor-in-chief[16]) criticized Nature, Science and Cell as "luxury journals" in 2013, comparing their low acceptance levels and high impact factors with high-end "fashion designers" who deliberately inflated demand for their brand due to scarcity. During the peer review process, eLife encourages the reviewers to discuss a manuscript and agree on a common recommendation.[17] However, the acceptance rate of eLife was 15.4% in 2015, which is similar to the acceptance rates of Nature and Science - both below 10%.[17]

In June 2018, eLife announced that it would try an innovative peer review model (for some 300 submissions) where the editorial decision to send a manuscript out for review is tantamount to offering publication to that manuscript, thereby putting the authors in control of publication after editorial screening has been passed.[18]

In December 2020, eLife announced a new "publish, then review" model of publishing; from July 2021 the journal will only review manuscripts already available as preprints.[19]

On October 20, 2022, eLife announced, "From next year, eLife is eliminating accept/reject decisions after peer review, instead focusing on public reviews and assessments of preprints."[20][21] All papers invited for the peer-review will be published on the eLife website as Reviewed Preprints, accompanied by an eLife assessment and public reviews.[20]

Other partners

In April 2017, eLife was one of the founding partners in the Initiative for Open Citations.[22]

See also


  1. "About". eLife.
  2. Matt McGrath (10 April 2012), Trust pushes for open access to research, BBC
  3. Callaway, Ewen (2016-06-02). "Open-access journal eLife gets £25-million boost". Nature. 534 (7605): 14–15. Bibcode:2016Natur.534...14C. doi:10.1038/534014a. PMID 27251251.
  4. "eLife welcomes Michael Eisen as Editor-in-Chief". eLife. 2019-03-05. Retrieved 2019-03-05.
  5. Freya Boardman-Pretty (5 November 2011), "Open-access science journal leaves editing to the experts", Times Higher Education
  6. Communicating the latest advances in life science and biomedicine, eLife, retrieved 6 October 2015
  7. "Inside eLife: Setting a fee for publication". 2016-09-29. Retrieved 2016-09-29.
  8. Else, Holly (2022-11-03). "eLife won't reject papers once they are under review — what researchers think". Nature. Springer Science and Business Media LLC. doi:10.1038/d41586-022-03534-6. ISSN 0028-0836.
  9. "Master Journal List". Intellectual Property & Science. Thomson Reuters. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  10. "CAS Source Index". Chemical Abstracts Service. American Chemical Society. Archived from the original on 2010-02-11. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  11. "Content overview". Scopus. Elsevier. Retrieved 2016-10-10.
  12. "eLife". 2019 Journal Citation Reports. Web of Science (Science ed.). Thomson Reuters. 2020.
  13. Communicating the latest advances in life science and biomedicine, eLife, retrieved 26 October 2015
  14. "Q&A: Outgoing HHMI chief reflects on leading $19 billion biomedical charity". 2015-08-07.
  15. eLife is now on Medium, 2014-12-18, retrieved 2 March 2015
  16. Grens, Kerry (Aug 19, 2018), Randy Schekman to Leave eLife, The Scientist
  17. Callaway, Ewen (June 2, 2016). "Open-access journal eLife gets £25-million boost". Nature News. 534 (7605): 14. doi:10.1038/534014a via www.nature.com.
  18. Patterson, M.; Schekman, R. (2018). "Scientific Publishing: A new twist on peer review". eLife. 7. doi:10.7554/eLife.36545. PMC 6019064. PMID 29944117.
  19. Eisen, Michael B; Akhmanova, Anna; Behrens, Timothy E; Harper, Diane M; Weigel, Detlef; Zaidi, Mone (December 1, 2020). "Implementing a "publish, then review" model of publishing". eLife. 9: e64910. doi:10.7554/eLife.64910 via eLife.
  20. "eLife's New Model: Changing the way you share your research". eLife. 2022-10-20. Retrieved 2022-10-20.
  21. Eisen, Michael B; Akhmanova, Anna; Behrens, Timothy E; Diedrichsen, Jörn; Harper, Diane M; Iordanova, Mihaela D; Weigel, Detlef; Zaidi, Mone (2022-10-20). "Peer review without gatekeeping". eLife. 11: e83889. doi:10.7554/eLife.83889. ISSN 2050-084X.
  22. "Press". Initiative for Open Citations. 6 April 2017. Retrieved 6 April 2017.
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