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‘eLife’ releases first four papers

16 October 2012

The highly anticipated open access journal ‘eLife’ has published its first four papers today, ahead of the full website launch at the end of 2012. The researcher-led initiative, funded by the Howard Hughes Medical Institute, the Max Planck Society and the Wellcome Trust, aims to provide an online open-access forum for the best in science and science communication.

Randy Schekman, the journal's editor-in-chief, said: "We see no reason to delay the availability of these discoveries. Our editors have identified them as important, inspiring contributions of the high calibre expected for 'eLife'. So, while the launch of our own journal website isn't expected until December, we will best serve our authors, and science, by just getting them out there."

The papers' content is varied, including innovative research about a range of biomedical and life science topics:

  • a hormone involved in response to starvation that dramatically increases the lifespan of mice in which it is overexpressed (Zhang et al.)
  • a critical signalling molecule involved in the interaction between a species of single-celled organisms and bacteria - an important advance in efforts to understand the evolution of multicellularity (Alegado et al.)
  • the results of a two-year field trial that demonstrates how a specific group of chemicals released by plants in response to herbivore attack can increase the fitness of the plants in the Darwinian sense of increasing reproductive success (Schuman et al.)
  • how cells cope with the stress of poorly folded proteins and, specifically, how fission yeast deploys the same cellular machinery as other organisms but in a very unusual way (Kimmig et al.).

The first four papers are listed on the eLife website, and the full content is available at the online archive of the US National Library of Medicine, PubMed Central (PMC). The papers show the quality of research expected for the new journal for life sciences and biomedicine, while showcasing innovation in science communication.

Ahead of the final development and launch of the eLife website at the end of this year, the initiative will continue to publish accepted articles this autumn. This is to encourage the maximum possible reach of the content and influence subsequent discoveries immediately.

Links to the freely available full text for each article, plain-language summaries (the eLife digest), expert commentaries (Insights) and an editorial describing the motivations behind this move are all available on the eLife website.

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