PeerJ is an open access peer-reviewed scientific mega journal covering research in the biological and medical sciences. It is published by a company of the same name that was co-founded by CEO Jason Hoyt (formerly at Mendeley) and publisher Peter Binfield (formerly at PLOS ONE), with financial backing of US$950,000 from O'Reilly Media and O'Reilly AlphaTech Ventures. It was officially launched in June 2012, started accepting submissions on December 3, 2012, and published its first articles on February 12, 2013. The company is a member of CrossRef, CLOCKSS, ORCID, and the Open Access Scholarly Publishers Association. The company's offices are in Corte Madera (California), and London.
PeerJ uses a business model that differs from traditional publishers – in that no subscription fees are charged to its readers – and also used to differ from the major open-access publishers in that publication fees were not levied per article but per publishing researcher and at a much lower level. PeerJ is complemented by a preprint service named PeerJ Preprints which launched on April 3, 2013. The low costs were said to be in part achieved by using cloud infrastructure: both PeerJ and PeerJ Preprints run on Amazon EC2, with the content stored on Amazon S3.
Originally, PeerJ charged authors a one-time membership fee that allowed them – with some additional requirements, such as commenting upon, or reviewing, at least one paper per year – to publish in the journal for the rest of their life. Submitted research is judged solely on scientific and methodological soundness (as at PLoS ONE), with a facility for peer reviews to be published alongside each paper.
However, since 1 October 2016 at least, PeerJ has reverted to a more conventional open access model of charging per article published, coupled with an alternative lifetime membership subscription. The current charges for publishing a single article in PeerJ are $1095.00, and life-time membership permitting one free paper per year for life is $399.00. Because all authors on a paper are required to be members, it may sometimes be cheaper to pay the per publication charge than paying membership fees for all authors.
The journal is abstracted and indexed in the Science Citation Index Expanded, PubMed Central, Scopus, EMBASE, CAB Abstracts, and ACS databases. According to the Journal Citation Reports, it has a 2015 impact factor of 2.183.
On September 12, 2013 the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers awarded PeerJ the "Publishing Innovation" of the year award.
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