Rensselaer computer and data science experts Francine Berman and James Hendler are among a group of high-profile computer scientists—including Vint Cerf, Wendy Hall, David Patterson, and Mary Shaw—who will help guide a new open access computer science journal that was launched recently. PeerJ Computer Science, a cross-disciplinary open access journal from publisher PeerJ, is now accepting articles across all fields of computer science.

Fran Berman

Fran Berman

Berman, the Edward P. Hamilton Distinguished Professor in Computer Science and chair of the U.S. branch of the Research Data Alliance, and Hendler, the Tetherless World Senior Constellation Professor and director of the Rensselaer Institute for Data Exploration and Applications (IDEA), along with their colleagues, are members of the advisory board of the journal.

According to PeerJ, the landscape for academic publishing within computer science is ripe for change. Few open access journals currently serve the computer science community, and authors in this field largely publish their work either at academic conferences or in subscription journals. This traditional route can be slow for authors in this field with lengthy review processes, leading many authors to choose to present their work more expediently through conferences.

By publishing cross-disciplinary research across the full spectrum of computer science, PeerJ Computer Science hopes to engender more cross-fertilization between fields and to become a hub through which the computer science community as a whole can interact. PeerJ, which celebrates the two-year anniversary of publishing in the biological and medical sciences later this month, intends to work closely with the computer science community from the outset to help shape the journal as it grows.


James Hendler

“It’s an honor to be included in such a prestigious group,” said Hendler. “It’s noteworthy that Rensselaer has two members on this advisory board, which speaks to the strength of our computer science department.”

“I look forward to working with my colleagues on the advisory board to explore an open access, computer science-wide model for publication,” said Berman.

PeerJ Computer Science will mirror the existing PeerJ system, with articles published through a Creative Commons (CC-BY) license, and content freely accessible. Articles published in PeerJ Computer Science are immediately available—to read, download, redistribute, include in databases, and otherwise use—without cost to anyone, anywhere, subject only to the condition that the original authors and source are properly attributed.

Under the existing business model, authors pay a single lifetime publication fee, providing them with the ability to openly publish all future articles free of cost. Although it remains to be seen how fast the review process at the new journal will be, PeerJ’s life science and medicine authors currently receive a first decision in a median time of 22 days, which would help to address the need for quick turnaround times for computer