In “New Journal for Biology Researchers” (The Scientist , December 1, 2011), Edyta Zielinska reports, “Scientists unhappy with the power of editors at top tier journals start a new peer-reviewed publication with active researchers at the helm”:
Will eLife be the new Science or Nature? Randy Schekman, a researcher at the University of California and former editor of Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences hopes so. He is launching the new open access journal next year, which will be run strictly by active researchers in an attempt to address some of the complaints about scientific publishing.
Although there are many specialist journals headed by scientists, the top tier publications are often run by professional editors who do not work in a lab, and who do not moderate the peer-review process. Many researchers have complained that their manuscripts are rejected on the opinion of one reviewer, even when the remaining two reviews are glowing. To stem this problem Schekman plans to have referees discuss their opinions in a private online forum and come to a consensus—a process mediated by the senior editor—ideally within a month of the paper’s submission.