The first PeerJ Computer Science articles have arrived

The open access publisher brings its unique model to this diverse field in need of a publishing reboot

In February, PeerJ announced that it would bring its innovative business model for scientific publishing to a new discipline: computer science. Today, PeerJ Computer Science publishes its first seven articles, representing a diverse selection of topics, just like the field itself and just as the publishers intended. Read on to learn what this effort has yielded so far, and the publisher's hope for its role in the future.

In February, PeerJ announced that it would bring its innovative business model for scientific publishing to a new discipline: computer science. Today, PeerJ Computer Science publishes its first seven articles, representing a diverse selection of topics, just like the field itself and just as the publishers intended.

Following its award-winning success providing an affordable system for open access publishing in the biological sciences, PeerJ received many requests to launch such a journal in other fields. Co-founder and publisher Pete Binfield explains that their business model is popular, because it’s cheaper, as well as faster, than the traditional options. Researchers obtain a lifetime publication plan, for a single low price, that provides them with the ability to openly publish all future articles for free.

Why computer science? It was an interesting discipline to work with, given this community’s real need for a PeerJ-type offering. “These are the people who invented open source, yet their publication system is very closed,” Binfield explains. “Their journals are not very OA-friendly, and they often publish new results at conferences.” This contributes to the very long timeframe for publishing in computer science. Time will tell if the new journal will be able to match the original PeerJ’s response time for a first decision (22 days), but he is confident it will be “dramatically faster” than what computer scientists are used to.

A Chance to Experiment

Entering the world of computer science is also a chance to experiment in a new area, Peter Binfield says, given the discipline’s different requirements for handling code, and its conference-based interaction style. This will be reflected, for example, in PeerJ’s “collections”. Like virtual special issues, pre-prints and conference abstracts might be published here, or the best abstract from a conference turned into a peer-reviewed publication. These, plus the online community features of PeerJ’s platform (comments, Q&A, point systems for editors and authors, etc.) will help Computer Science become a hub where specialists can step out of their silo and interact with a broader range of researchers.

The publisher’s other goals for the new journal are for it to reflect the diversity of the discipline as a whole. Already, among the first seven articles, “this has worked out surprisingly well!” Binfield says. “There’s computational biology and hardcore computer science, some analyzing social media, even a new mathematical notation for how to tie a necktie.” Interestingly, although they put out the call for papers as broadly as possible, PeerJ didn’t make a specific effort to rustle up such a diverse selection of articles. “The fact that we got them shows us that a broad range of computer scientists across the field are interested in our model. It’s also important that we recruited an editorial board that represents such a wide range.”

Indeed, the journal’s Editorial and Advisory Board has more than 300 members, including many high profile computer scientists, like Vint Cerf, Wendy Hall, David Patterson and Mary Shaw). To learn more about the journal, its board, the model and, of course, the articles, visit PeerJ Computer Science. There’s a bonus, too: PeerJ is offering free publication credits until Monday, August 3rd to all those who register at this page, and also to their colleagues simply by providing their email details. For more information, get in touch with PeerJ at press@peerj.com.

The Articles

Find them all at peerj.com/computer-science.

  • - ‘Achieving human and machine accessibility of cited data in scholarly publications’
  • - ‘More ties than we thought’ (an article examining how many ways there are to tie a neck-tie)
  • - ‘Zbrowse: an interactive GWAS results browser’
  • - ‘Navigating the massive world of reddit: Using backbone networks to map user interests in social media’
  • - ‘An interactive audio-visual installation using ubiquitous hardware and web-based software deployment’
  • - ‘Reconstructing the history of a WD40 beta-propeller tandem repeat using a phylogenetically informed algorithm’
  • - ‘Forensic analysis of video steganography tools’

 

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