Inside e-life: what it costs to publish

Update September 6: Kent Anderson has published a critique of e-life’s annual report on the Scholarly Kitchen blog (published by the Society for Scholarly Publishing). Thanks to Danny Kingsley on the Global Open Access List.

Thanks to Emily Packer, e-life Press Office, via the SSP list for the following, and to e-life for their transparency. As a bit of context, e-life is a new journal aiming to compete with the most prestigious scholarly journals. Their costs are quite a bit higher than the average APC, reflecting a number of factors, including paying editors and significant staff costs, and the costs of developing their own technology platform (now available to all as open source).

Emily Packer’s message:

Of interest, eLife has published its 2015 annual report, detailing our costs of publishing versus those of our technology innovation and development.

Every year since 2012, eLife has published an annual report on activities along with our US Form 990 (required for our type of non-profit organisation) and our audited financial accounts. This year, we present a deeper view of our 2015 financials, covering publishing and non-publishing expenses.

As part of our ambition to change how science publishing works, especially among highly selective journals, we hope that being transparent about our costs will help set a future course for research communication that is efficient and sustainable.

eLife’s Executive Director, Mark Patterson, and Head of External Relations, Jennifer McLennan, have written a blog post that provides further information about our costs ( and the Times Higher Education featured a news piece:

Our 2015 annual report is also available to view here:

Citation: ideally cite the originals; if you have only used this blogpost, cite as:

Inside e-life: What it costs to publish. (2016). Sustaining the Knowledge Commons / Soutenir Les Savoirs Communs. Retrieved from