The PeerJ mascot is a blue monkey.COURTESY PEERJ

A new, open-access journal will charge contributors a one-time fee to publish papers in perpetuity. Officials at PeerJ announced yesterday (June 12) that the journal will begin taking submissions from the realm of biological and medical science research this summer and will publish its first articles in December 2012. The journal will employ an entirely new model of open-access publishing, with contributors paying a one-time membership fee for one of three levels of lifetime publishing privileges: $99 for one publication per year, $169 for 2 publications per year, and $259 for unlimited publication.

Peter Binfield, who was publisher of PLoS ONE, and Jason Hoyt, previously with the research paper sharing website Mendeley, are the brains behind the new journal. "PeerJ significantly moves the needle towards universal Open Access publishing for all academics," Binfield, who will serve as publisher of...

Articles submitted to PeerJ will be peer reviewed, but only for scientific soundness and not for impact or importance—a model of peer review already employed by some open-access titles. The new journal will require members to review at least one paper per year or engage in post-publication peer review.

The new open-access model is attracting the attention of others in the publishing game. "PeerJ is part of the assertion that this can be done cheaper—and for that alone it will be interesting to watch," Cameron Neylon, director of advocacy at the Public Library of Science in San Francisco, told Nature. Neylon's organization, which publishes all of the PLoS titles, charges authors up to $1,000 or more per published article. "The flexibility of payment options that PeerJ offers to authors should encourage more researchers to choose to make their articles openly available," said Heather Joseph, head of The Scholarly Publishing and Academic Resources Coalition, in a testimonial published on the journal's website.

PeerJ is offering special discounts on memberships until September 1: Researchers can save $30 on the 2-publication-per-year plan and $40 on the unlimited publishing plan.

"We are seeing a Cambrian explosion of experiments with new publishing models," Binfield told Nature. "It's going to be an interesting period for the next few years."

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