The single greatest thing that’s ever been said in author instructions
November 27, 2012
Today, PeerJ announced that it will open for submissions on December 3rd — next Monday. That’s great news for anyone who cares about the future of academic publishing: it’s out to make dramatic changes to the publishing workflow, including an integrated preprint server so that people can read your work while it’s in review. And it has every chance of succeeding because it’s run by people with an astonishing track record who know more about how to make open-access publishing successful than anyone in the world, and it has a stellar editorial board.
Oh, and it’s free to publish in forever once you’ve paid a one-off membership fee.
But that’s not why I’m writing. I’m writing because today they also released the instructions for authors, and they contain the following glorious passage:
We want authors spending their time doing science, not formatting.
We include reference formatting as a guide to make it easier for editors, reviewers, and PrePrint readers, but will not strictly enforce the specific formatting rules as long as the full citation is clear.
Styles will be normalized by us if your manuscript is accepted.
Having previously ranted extensively about the submission-time reference-formatting burden of every other journal, I can hardly overstate how happy this makes me. I am a scientist, not a secretary. And in 2012, PeerJ is the first journal to acknowledge that.
Update 1 (an hour later)
Ian Mulvaney pointed out that eLife also does not require a specific style at submission.
So my apologies to both earlier examples that I missed, and kudos to both eLife and Elsevier. What I’d love to see now is the PLOS journals, and others, following the fine examples of these pioneers.