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PeerJ is the Open Access (OA) publisher of a biomedical journal, also called PeerJ. In addition to its peer-reviewed flagship, it runs a preprint server, PeerJ Preprints, to which authors can submit draft, incomplete, and final papers for informal peer review, and to establish precedent. The company’s chief innovation, however, is a novel if untried business model: extending to authors lifetime publication privileges in exchange for a one-time fee. This strategy adheres to the basic formula of fee-based Gold OA in that an upfront charge pays for the operations of the journal. PeerJ diverges from its predecessors in that it collects this fee only once, at a cost that is hundreds, even thousands of dollars less than the Gold options of other commercial publishers. This review describes PeerJ’s business model in greater depth and considers the end user experience of finding and reading literature on its platform.

Publication date: January 1, 2014

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