A while back I joined Axios Review, an independent editorial board. Axios Review is a service to which ecologists and evolutionary biologists submit their mss. They get back peer reviews, just like with a journal, along with an editorial decision as to which journals (from an author-supplied list of “targets”) the editor would recommend the ms to (following appropriate revision, if needed). Axios then forwards the ms, reviews, and recommendation to the target journal, asking them if they’d like the paper to be revised and submitted. The service costs authors a small fee ($250 USD), currently payable only after a journal accepts the ms (this will be switching to payment upon receiving the Axios decision in mid-2015).
Axios Review has benefits for both authors and journals. For authors, the reviews improve the ms, and the referral process prevents you from wasting time by targeting a journal that’s too selective or a bad fit, saving you from unnecessary rejection and resubmission. It also prevents you from losing audience and impact by aiming too low. Journals get pre-reviewed mss that are very likely to meet their standards. I’ve used the service myself for an ms that my co-authors and I needed independent advice on, and found it very helpful. I would use it again in a heartbeat.
Tim Vines, a former Managing Editor at Molecular Ecology and the founder of Axios Review, just updated the editorial board on how things are going. With his permission, here are the highlights:
- Axios had 95 submissions in 2014, a big jump on the previous year. The goal for 2015 is 200 submissions. That seems like a reasonable goal to me, given the current growth rate.
- About 80% of papers referred by Axios are accepted by the target journal, over half of those without going out for further review. And that’s not because Axios mss are only being written by top authors or only referred to journals with high acceptance rates (see the “published papers” list on their website).
- Tim is now working full time on Axios, which is a great sign.
I know that in some people’s ideal world there wouldn’t be a market for Axios Review (e.g., because everybody just publishes everything in Plos One or whatever). But I’m an evolutionary, not a revolutionary, and so I like Axios. I think the existing scientific peer review and publication system has a lot of merit, and so I like having a service that helps the system work as it should. If you feel like Axios Review might be useful to you as an author, I encourage you to give it a try.