News Release

Review Commons expands - additional funding and new partner journals announced

HHMI will extend funding for the preprint peer-review platform, supporting the addition of the Biochemical Journal, Genes & Development, Genome Biology and Immunology & Cell Biology to the 17 currently affiliated journals

Grant and Award Announcement


11 May 2023 – Review Commons, the journal-agnostic preprint peer-review platform, is expanding thanks to additional funding from the Howard Hughes Medical Institute (HHMI). HHMI has awarded EMBO a further year of funding, allowing the platform to increase its capacity for high-quality scientific review of preprints and move to a financially sustainable model for Review Commons.

The Biochemical Journal from the Biochemical Society, published by Portland Press; Genes & Development from Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory Press; Genome Biology from Springer Nature; and Immunology & Cell Biology from the Australia and New Zealand Society for Immunology, will become affiliate journals over the coming months. The 21 journals affiliated with Review Commons, representing a diversity of publishers, including those mentioned above plus ASCB, The Company of Biologists, eLife, EMBO Press, PLOS and Rockefeller University Press, all accept submissions directly from the Review Commons platform and commit to using reviewed preprints in their independent editorial decisions rather than starting peer review afresh. If the editors decide to reject the work, the authors can reuse the peer reviews for submission to additional journals, reducing re-reviewing and accelerating publication.

Thomas Lemberger, Review Commons project lead at EMBO, says “This is great news for promoting reviewed preprints as an open and efficient way of disseminating research. With the support of HHMI, Review Commons is broadening its scope and its scale, thus serving a wider community of researchers by delivering high-quality peer reviews for preprints.” Lemberger also explains the value of the growing affiliate community: “Review Commons is an open platform whose journal-agnostic peer review is compatible with a broad diversity of journals. Our core principle is to make public preprint review maximally useful while allowing authors to maintain control of their manuscript’s destination. Submitting to Review Commons offers authors a faster and more efficient way to publish, with simple transfers and no need for repeated reviews.”

Since its launch in December 2019, Review Commons has grown into one of the world’s leading preprint peer review platforms. Review Commons is supported by experienced editors at EMBO Press who run the peer review of preprints in a journal-agnostic way. Reviewers are asked to focus on the scientific claims of a paper, the strength of the supporting evidence and its contribution to the field, irrespective of whether it is a good fit for a specific journal. The resulting reviewed preprint, complete with the reviewers’ reports and the authors’ response, is made public on a preprint server. From there, authors may choose to submit the reviewed preprint to an affiliate journal along with the peer-review materials needed for the journal to make a rapid decision.

Bodo Stern, HHMI Chief of Strategic Initiatives, says “Review Commons has been an excellent project for increasing the value and utility of preprints in the life sciences. As the demand for transparent peer review to support Open Science increases, we are pleased to help Review Commons grow to meet it.”

Review Commons will continue working with quality journals to further increase the number of affiliates. As an open and community-focused endeavour, the ability to seamlessly connect across platforms and publishers remains an integral part of Review Commons’ strategy. EMBO Director, Fiona Watt, says “Review Commons is an extraordinary force for good in the world of life-science publishing. Authors can publish without having to submit to multiple journals, the demand on reviewers is decreased and editors are empowered to collaborate between journals. Review Commons also posts the preprints and the associated reviews, thereby promoting Open Science.”

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