Published October 19, 2018 | Version v1
Proposal Open

Journals 2.0: a roadmap to reinvent scientific publishing

  • 1. The Sainsbury Laboratory


This vision describes a radically different publishing model that would reinvent the concept of a scientific journal into a live and open forum of scientific debate and analysis. This model centers on a full integration of the preprint ecosystem into the journal interface. The journal would only accept submission of articles that have been posted as preprints. All evaluations and commissioned reviews of submitted articles would be published as soon as received on the journal website and linked to the preprint version. Editors would operate as always sifting through submitted papers and seeking external reviewers when necessary. But they will also consider author-led and community crowdsourced reviews, which would be appended to the preprint. As the reviews accumulate and revisions are submitted, the journal editors would initiate a consultation process, and when satisfied with a given version promote it to a formal article. The editor’s role becomes more akin to moderator than gatekeeper. The process doesn’t have to be static. As the community further comments on the article and follow-up studies are published, editors may decide to commission synthetic review or commentary articles to address emerging issues. I would also envision that the paper is linked to related articles in a “knowledge network” database, and that article tags are revised to reflect new knowledge, e.g. “independently validated”. The journal would therefore become less of a static repository of scientific articles, and more of a moderated forum of scientific discussion.

To implement this vision of journals 2.0, the following roadmap would need to be implemented:

  1. Funding bodies to mandate preprints for their grantees. 

  2. Integrate the preprint ecosystem into the journal. 

  3. Every submitted article receives at least an editorial evaluation. 

  4. Live peer review according to a hybrid model of editor-, author-, and community-led reviewing.

  5. Formal publication of articles.



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