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Cell Reports is not only the latest addition to the Cell Press suite of journals, it also holds the honor of being the group’s first open access journal and the first Creative Commons journal published by Elsevier.

Authors in Cell Reports retain full copyright over their articles and are able to choose between two Creative Commons licenses for publication, one of which is the most permissive license offered by Creative Commons.

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Cell Reports Editor, Boyana Konforti, spoke to Editors’ Update about why the journal chose this particular open access path.

“Cell Press has always placed a high priority on access to its content; each of the journals offers free featured articles and the sponsored article option*, and all content is freely available after 12 months. Cell Reports goes further by providing authors with an opportunity to publish in a prestigious journal with immediate and unrestricted access.

Why Creative Commons?

“It was important for Cell Reports to be able to offer authors Creative Commons licenses. The most permissive license allows end users to share and adapt the paper, both commercially and non-commercially. The other option allows the article to be copied and distributed, but it cannot be changed in any way or used commercially.

“I’m not sure how much time our authors spend deciding between these two licenses. However, I do know that for open access advocates, the fact that we offer the most accommodating Creative Commons license, and that copyright is retained by the authors, is a big deal.

“It is still early days - we published our inaugural issue at the end of January and we publish new articles weekly – but as time goes on it will be interesting to see whether authors favor one license over the other.

“The aim of Cell Reports is to publish high-quality papers encompassing all scales of biology, from the organism to the atom, with a focus on short papers.   There are, of course, other open access journals – in fact, quite a number have launched just in recent years – though few have the high standards and prestige of the Cell Press brand. There are also other journals that publish short papers, and still others that have a broad remit. But it is the unique combination of these features that will distinguish Cell Reports within Cell Press and beyond. I like to think of the old adage of the sum being greater than its parts.

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The peer review process

"So far, we have been very pleased with the number and breadth of papers we’ve been receiving. The in-house editorial team of Cell Reports, which consists of me and Sabbi Lall, are responsible for reading all the papers and deciding which ones go out for external review. In making that decision we have the good fortune to be able to call on the extensive editorial expertise available across all the other Cell Press journals.

"We also ask our Editorial Board for advice. This unique board consists of up-and-coming scientists who are the new leaders in their respective fields and will help shape the journal from the ground up. They are passionate about their subject areas and enthusiastic about the journal.

"Even for those papers that do go out for review, the reviewers are holding the bar high. That way we can ensure we maintain the high quality and selectivity you would expect from Cell Press. As part of the Cell Press family, we also benefit from the manuscript-transfer system between journals, so one review process can serve for consideration at more than one journal.

First impressions

"I have been an Editor for many years and yet it is very exciting to start a journal from scratch – especially a high caliber, broad, open access journal at Cell Press. I am especially proud of the fact that the moment the paper is published it is available to everyone, everywhere.

"I’d like to say a big thank you to all the reviewers and our Editorial and Advisory Boards but especially to our authors who helped us get the journal launched. It’s always a big leap of faith to get involved with a new project like this so I’m very grateful. I look forward to further expanding the scope of Cell Reports so that it truly covers all of biology."

* Cell Press journals permit sponsored articles only in accordance to agreements with funding organizations.

Author Biography

Boyana Konforti

Boyana Konforti

Boyana Konforti
Boyana earned her PhD at Stanford University with Ron Davis, studying the mechanism of DNA recombination. She then did postdoctoral studies on the mechanisms of RNA splicing at Rockefeller University with Magda Konarska and at Columbia University with Anna Pyle. Boyana has been a professional Editor for more than 13 years, and she brings a wealth of experience in scientific journal publishing, as well as a deep understanding of biology and the communities that Cell Press serves.