The ongoing launch of this novel journal, Newpubli, represents the birth of the first fifth-generation academic journal.
In 1665, the first two academic journals, Journal des Sçavans and Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society, were established in France and Britain, respectively. Thereafter, the number of academic journals has increased steadily for centuries. In recent years, there are around 28,000 active academic journals in the world, collectively publishing about 1.8–1.9 million articles per year. These academic journals are vital for the progress of science and the society, because they serve as the predominant venue for recording, introducing, sharing, and disseminating new data, techniques, views, and theories developed by researchers.
As elaborated in the first article published by Newpubli with the title of “Design of the first fifth-generation academic journal”, academic journals have evolved into four generations in recent decades. The first-generation journals are purely printed in paper. The second-generation journals are electronic, and they greatly cut the cost of journals in printing and distribution. The third-generation journals are not only electronic, but also open access, so that published articles can be accessed free of charge for readers and libraries. The fourth-generation journals, such as PLOS One, Peerj, Springerplus, F1000Research, are not only electronic and open access, but also with post-publication rating. They do not reject manuscripts only for limited value, and so they greatly removed the negative effect of peer review which is vital for journals in selecting manuscripts for publication.
Despite the rapid development of academic journals in recent years, the inherent struggle between authors and journals, namely that authors are reluctant to publish their articles of great value in journals of low impact factors, and journals of high impact factors are reluctant to publish articles with limited value, remains unchanged. This inherent struggle has frustrated both authors and editors for centuries. The birth of the first fifth-generation academic journal, Newpubli, is to solve this problem. Newpubli provides four value ranks for each article it publishes. The first rank is calculated from peer review comments, and each collection of the articles sharing the same first value rank constitutes a sub-journal which shall have its own impact factor. Consequently, authors shall be willing to publish their articles of great value in this journal as these articles will be published with high value ranks in some sub-journals of high impact, and the journal shall not reject articles of limited value as these articles can be published with low value ranks in the sub-journals of low impact. Consequently, the inherent struggle between authors and journals is removed from this journal.
Some other innovations, such as providing value ranks for each published article, setting five stages of peer review, crediting all contributors, no charging for open access publication, bestowing honors and shares to editors, authors and reviewers (crowdfunding), have also been integrated into the journal. With these innovations, the journal shall spark a revolution in academic publishing as it can change the traditional slow, worrisome, expensive and prejudiced process for article publication into a rapid, pleasant, free and fair journey, and the revolution shall promote greatly the development of science and human society.
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