This journal moves on from the two current systems for scholarly publishing: 1) Researcher doesn’t pay to publish the article, but the journal charges the community that wanna read it (often with incredible high fee that weight on shoulders of University Libraries – see the case of the publisher Elsevier); 2) Researcher pays a fee (thousands of $$$) too see the article on and the journal do not charge readers.
Don’t need to say that both systems encompass sever peer-review of the submitted manuscripts. None respected journal publish everything for the sake of money. I said respected!
PeerJ comes with another idea: researcher pay a one-off fee of 299$ and you have the right to submit “all you can publish” and it will stay on-line, freely available to everyone. 199$ or 99$ option are also available for a different number of year of ‘membership’. That’s cheap. That’s really cheap!
Such experiment made me think to what became the most-sell tablet in the world: Kindle form Amazon. In an interview for Wired, Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos openly declared war against the much more expensive tables on the market (from Samsung and Apple), saying that “cheaper is possible”. A similar sentence is pronounced by Cameron Neylon (new PLoS director) to Nature News: “PeerJ is part of the assertion that this can be done cheaper”.
Will this new open-access system succeed or sunk down the infinite options of ‘sort-of-open-access’ journals that are exploding right now? PLoS ONE, the first and most famous creation of PLoS, counts 2.000 article published per month, setting this journal as the biggest on earth. The PeerJ founders Peter Binfield (ex publisher of PLoS ONE) and Jason Hoyt (ex Mendeley) say that their journal will not need to reach PLoS ONE publication status in order to survive. They did their math, I guess.
Good luck PeerJ, this experiment must absolutely be follow.
PS: for more insights into the Open Access movement, I reccomend some posts of Mike Taylor in his SVOPW blog.