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, USA), and London (Great Britain).
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 and discontinued in September 2019. 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 October 1, 2016 at least, PeerJ has reverted to article processing charges, but still offers the lifetime membership subscription as an alternative option. The current charge for non-members publishing a single article in PeerJ is $1,195.00, regardless of author number. Or alternatively the life-time membership permitting one free paper per year for life is $399 per author (basic membership) or five per year for $499 (premium membership). 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 Science Citation Index Expanded, PubMed, PubMed Central, Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar, the DOAJ, the American Chemical Society (ACS) databases, EMBASE, CAB Abstracts, Europe PubMed Central, AGORA, ARDI, HINARI, OARE, the ProQuest databases, and OCLC. According to the Journal Citation Reports, its impact factor increased from 2.118 in 2017 to 2.353 in 2018.
On September 12, 2013 the Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers awarded PeerJ the "Publishing Innovation" of the year award.
On 6 November 2018, PeerJ launched five new journals dedicated to chemistry: PeerJ Physical Chemistry, PeerJ Organic Chemistry, PeerJ Inorganic Chemistry, PeerJ Analytical Chemistry, and PeerJ Materials Science.
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