23 September 2015 Volume :3 Issue :44

Executive Editor of eLife Speaks at UKZN

Executive Editor of eLife Speaks at UKZN
From left: Professor Jonathan Blackledge, Professor Quarraisha Abdool Karim, Mr Andy Collings and Professor Salim Abdool Karim.

The Executive Editor of the eLIFE Journal, Mr Andy Collings, spoke at a gathering on UKZN’s Westville campus as a guest of the Research Office and Caprisa. 

The title of Collings’s talk, held in the Research Office’s Common Room, was: “Enabling Consultation and Transparency in the Review Process: A Perspective From eLIFE”. 

eLIFE is a journal for outstanding research in the life sciences and biomedicine which is categorised in four main areas: biochemistry, cell biology, neuroscience and plant biology. 

Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Research, Professor Jonathan Blackledge, said: ‘We are privileged today to have the Executive Editor of eLIFE - a novel, peer reviewed, journal established by Nobel Laureate, Randy Scheckman - to share his insights and thoughts on this topic and demystify the eLIFE process.’

‘It provides an excellent opportunity and motivation for UKZN to deliberate science publishing, the peer review system and to learn about and receive feedback on a novel approach being used by eLIFE,’ said Blackledge. 

eLIFE Sciences is a unique, non-profit collaboration between the funders and practitioners of research to improve the way important results are published and shared. The open-access eLIFE journal is the first step in this initiative to make science publishing more effective for the benefit of science and scientists. 

eLIFE Sciences is funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust. It has published more than 1200 research papers.

Collings said the goals of eLIFE were to create more efficient publishing, exploit digital media, provide an open access forum, and inspire change. 

Blackledge said knowledge generation processes were rapidly evolving amid increasing globalisation and technological advances, while at the same time expanding with inter-and multi-disciplinary teams with growing north-south and south-south partnerships.  

He acknowledged that there was a need to start deliberations on how to enhance the peer review process and establish processes and metrics that took into account the changing knowledge generation landscape. 

Collings said there were several positive reasons why researchers should submit to eLIFE - the journal made prompt decisions and provided timeous feedback, there were no restrictions on the number of illustration figures that could be included, there were, for now, no fees, there was a limited round of revision, the articles were made more accessible, and the journal provided letters of recommendation.

Collings said the inclusion of fees would not affect the openness of articles nor should it be a barrier for researchers around the world.  

Caprisa’s Professor Salim Abdool Karim said the journal was comparable to any other on the market, being among the world’s prestigious biomedical and life sciences publications. 

Sithembile Shabangu

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