Two major funders of biomedical research and Germany's leading scholarly society said Monday that they would create what they described as a top-quality, open access journal -- though many of the details of the new venture have yet to be nailed down. Officials from the The Howard Hughes Medical Institute, Britain's Wellcome Trust and the Max Planck Society said that their plan had grown from discussions with leading scientists in 2010 in which they expressed desire for a new, more efficient and more financially independent form of scholarly publishing. Although many aspects of the new entity remain uncertain -- including its title, editor and business model -- it is expected to have several unusual features, in addition to being published only online.
The journal's backers said they did not expect to charge authors fees to publish their work (as do some journals that do not charge readers); apart from an editor-in-chief, filtering of submissions are to be done by a board of working scientists, rather than by professional editors (according to Science magazine), and the peer review and editing process is designed to be much faster than normal. "The ethos of the journal will be to avoid asking authors to make extensive modifications or perform endless additional experiments before a paper can be published," Sir Mark Walport, director of the Wellcome Trust, said in a news release about the venture.