Peer Community in
PCI, a free recommendation process of scientific
preprints based on peer reviews
PCI is a non-profit organization of researchers offering peer review, recommendation and publication of scientific articles in open access for free.
Following submission by authors, the thematic PCIs evaluate preprints in their scientific fields based on rigorous peer-review. After evaluation, the PCIs may recommend those preprints, to make them complete, reliable and citable articles, without the need for publication in ‘traditional’ journals. Authors who need to publish their article in a journal can publish it for free in Peer Community Journal or submit it to a PCI-friendly or other journal.
The recommendation of an article is an editorial decision made by a recommender based on at least two rigorous peer review and after one or several rounds of peer reviews. The recommendations are published in the corresponding thematic PCI websites with a DOI and can be cited.
Once recommended by PCI, articles become citable valid references, similar to journal articles, but they can still be submitted to a journal or directly published in the Peer Community Journal.
PCI IN A FEW LINES
Stimulating, open, free, independent, inclusive and reliable.
OUR KEY FEATURES
Stimulating: Each PCI recommends remarkable articles in its field.
Open: PCI is an open-science initiative based on:
- open access to the recommended articles (on preprint servers and archives)
- open access to the evaluation (reviews, author’s responses and editorial decisions)
- data, scripts and code available to the readers
Free: The whole PCI process is free for any user (readers, authors…). The websites of the PCIs are freely accessible.
Independent: PCI in not-for-profit and non commercial. It is managed by scientists for scientists. Conflicts of interests are carefully checked at each step of the process.
Inclusive: An article recommended by a PCI may subsequently be published in a traditional journal (although this is not the goal of the PCIs).
Reliable: Decisions are based on sound evaluations by at least 2 reviewers. The Managing Board checks the quality of reviews, decisions and recommendations.
Peer Community In complies with publishing ethics guidelines.
Just like diamond open access, PCI allows scientists to regain control of the scientific publication process and disconnect it from financial issues. PCI also wants to refocus scientific quality on articles rather than on journals.
REASONS TO BELIEVE IN PCI
The PCI evaluation process is high-quality, free, and transparent. It is likely to succeed for the following reasons:
1. It fulfills the open science commitments requested by an increasing number of institutions, countries, funding agencies
- All articles recommended by PCI have open data, scripts and code.
- All articles recommended by PCI are open access, freely accessible on preprint servers or institutional archives
- PCI ensures transparent peer review
2. It results in a peer-reviewed article that can be cited as is or published in a journal
- Authors are free to either leave their recommended article on the preprint server, or, if they need journal articles for their career, to publish it directly to Peer Community Journal or submit it to a PCI-friendly journal
3. It provides a solution to value reviewing and editorial work
- Recommendations (and associated reviews) are citable with their DOI
- Reviewers can choose to publish their names or to remain anonymous
- Institutions have direct access to reviewing work of their researchers, since each recommender of a thematic PCI has their own personal page for displaying and reporting their reviews, comments and recommendations (example).
4. It focuses on the scientific contents of articles and watches out for the ethical rules of publication
- Conflicts of interest are kept track of throughout the process
- Financial conflict of interest are forbidden
5. It shares the workload between researchers
- Recommenders, unlike associate editors in traditional scientific journals, have no commitment to review and recommend papers. Each recommender is rather encouraged to review and recommend 1 or 2 articles per year in average.
- Because of the high number of recommenders, PCI will not be jeopardized if some recommenders are inactive.
6. It benefits from a solid infrastructure
- PCI is managed by scientists from research institutions
- It was funded by the French National Open Science Fund
- It is financially supported by many universities and research bodies
- PCI ensures long-time conservation of its contents in CLOCKSS
PCI receives strong institutional support because the current publishing system entails a considerable financial burden for these institutions.
Funding agencies, evaluation committees,doctoral schools, research institution, research library, open archivess, repositories and researchers can support PCI.
HOW TO SUPPORT PCI?
You are a:
- Representative of a funding agency, evaluation committee or doctoral school, click here
- Representative of a research institution or research library, click here
- Representative of an open archive or repository, click here
- Researcher, click here
If you or your organization would like to support PCI financially, click here
Funding agencies, evaluation committees and doctoral schools
Funding agencies, evaluation committees and doctoral schools can support PCI by endorsing the following statement: “In all of its work, our organization considers articles recommended by a Peer Community In to be of the same value and to have the same status as articles published in a high-quality journal in the same discipline”.
→ If your organization would like to join the list of bodies already supporting PCI, endorse this statement, and allow PCI to display its logo on the PCI websites and other supports of communication, then a representative of your organization should complete the Endorsement Statement Questionnaire for Evaluation Bodies. You can also contact us directly: contact [ at ] peercommunityin.org
Research institutions (universities, university departments, institutes, scientific societies, research libraries, etc.)
Research institutions can express their interest in the development of Peer Community In by providing symbolic support to PCI meaning that they
1) publicly acknowledge the value of the PCI initiative and
2) allow PCI to display their logo on the PCI websites and other supports of communication.
→ If your organization would like to join the list of bodies already supporting PCI, and provide symbolic support for PCI (including the display of the organization’s logo on PCI communication support), then a representative of your organization should complete the Symbolic Sponsorship Questionnaire. You can also contact us directly: contact [ at ] peercommunityin.org
Peer Community In was launched by scientists, to take back control of scientific publication, so that public money can be better spent on research.
As a researcher, you can support PCI:
- By submitting your article to one of the current PCIs
- By thinking about creating a new PCI in your field of research
- By joining an existing PCI as a recommender (see below the subsection RECOMMENDERS AND MANAGING BOARDS in the section How Does PCI works)
- By accepting invitations to review articles submitted to a PCI
- By making a donation to PCI (click here)
→ Contact us contact [ at ] peercommunityin.org for further details.
Open archives and repositories
The Peer Community In process relies on open archives, preprint servers and institutional repositories, and adds value to their content by providing reliable and transparent peer reviews and editorial decisions.
It is essential that these archives help readers to identify more easily the articles that have been peer-reviewed.
As an open archive, preprint server or institutional repository operator, you can support Peer Community In by displaying the link to the recommendation on the webpage of each preprint recommended by a PCI.
→ Contact us contact [ at ] peercommunityin.org for further details.
Peer Community In is a non-commercial not-for-profit organization financed exclusively by public funds. Your financial support will help us to cover the functioning costs of the existing communities and to develop the project.
Institutions, universities, libraries, laboratories or even individuals can provide financial support for Peer Community In according to a “pay what you can” annual fee model (our donors currently provide between €150 and €10,000). This support also includes allowing PCI to display the organization’s logo on the PCI websites and other supports of communication.
→ If you would like to join the list of bodies already supporting PCI, then a representative of your organization should complete the Financial Sponsorship Questionnaire. You can also contact us directly: contact [ at ] peercommunityin.org
PCI is attentive to equity and inclusion at all steps of the process of scientific article evaluation. PCI focuses on bringing more people underrepresented in academia.
INCLUSIVENESS AND EQUITY
Specific recommendations are made to reviewers, recommenders and managing board members to increase equity and inclusiveness in each of their tasks.
Tools to increase equity and inclusiveness:
- Possibility to submit articles anonymously
- Transparency in the evaluation of articles
- Managing Board members take into account underrepresentation in academia when appointing new recommenders
- Template messages to recommenders and reviewers include recommendations about equity and inclusiveness
- Possibility to review anonymously
HOW DOES PCI WORK?
- Authors deposit a preprint on a preprint server (eg arXiv, bioRxiv, etc)
- They submit it to the corresponding thematic PCI. If one recommender (the equivalent of associate editor in journals) finds the preprint particularly interesting, they can initiate the evaluation process. Based on at least two high-quality reviews from reviewers, they make the decision to reject, to accept or to request modifications .
- If the article is accepted (after one or several rounds of review):
- authors must deposit the recommended version of the preprint article on the preprint server.
- the recommender writes a short text of recommendation that is published with a DOI together with the reviews and all the editorial correspondence on the corresponding PCI website.
If you want to submit a registered report (an article based on preregistration), go to Peer Community in Registered Reports
For a regular preprint submission go to one of the thematic PCIs
PCI also recommends “postprints”, which we define as research papers that have already been published in peer-reviewed journals. PCI also considers books to be postprints because, despite not being evaluated by reviewers or editors before being published, they are often treated as such by academics.
As postprints (other than books, see above) have already undergone peer review before publication, an additional PCI peer review is not required for their recommendation. Each postprint recommendation is written by at least two PCI recommenders. Authors cannot submit their own articles or books to a thematic PCI for postprint recommendation. Instead, a postprint recommendation must be initiated by a recommender who has read the postprint and considers it worthy of recommendation. The recommender must then find at least one other co-recommender for completion of the recommendation process.
When a postprint recommendation is published by a thematic PCI, the word “postprint” is printed below the image illustrating the postprint, to differentiate it from preprint recommendations.
The recommendation text is published with a DOI, but is not accompanied by a peer review or editorial decision.
RECOMMENDERS AND MANAGING BOARDS
Recommenders of a thematic PCI can manage the evaluation of preprint submitted to this PCI:
- The recommenders for each thematic PCI are highly competent researchers – appointed by a Managing Board – who evaluate preprints on the basis of rigorous peer review.
- They have a role similar to journal associate editors: finding reviewers, obtaining peer reviews, making editorial decisions based on these reviews.
- They may reject or recommend the preprints they are handling after one or several rounds of reviews.
- If a recommender decides to recommend an article, they write a “recommendation”, which is a short news and views with references. The recommendation is published with a DOI on the website of the corresponding PCI.
- Becoming a recommender for a thematic PCI is not associated with a substantial workload since each PCI gathers a very large number of recommenders. Most handle no more than two articles per year.
How to become a recommender
Peer Community In encourages researchers to become recommenders for all PCIs. PCI welcomes ‘early/middle-career’ scientists if they have a significant experience in writing and evaluating articles. PCI focuses on bringing more people underrepresented in academia among new recommenders. New recommenders are nominated by current recommenders and approved by the Managing Board of the corresponding PCI. If you are interested in becoming a recommender, you may
- contact PCI at email@example.com and specify which PCI you would like to join
- or ask a current recommender of a thematic PCI to suggest your name to the Managing Board of this PCI, and then wait for their decision.
The Managing Board of a thematic PCI consists of a few selected recommenders. They have a role similar to editors in chief and are regularly replaced.
The members of each managing board are also members of the non-profit PCI organization. Hence, the representatives of all existing thematic PCIs are collectively responsible for all decisions concerning the creation of new PCIs and the development of the initiative.
The creation of a new PCI is a bottom-up process.
CREATING A NEW PCI
The non-profit PCI organization is responsible for the creation and functioning of the various thematic PCI. Representatives of all existing thematic PCI collectively take decisions concerning the creation of each new thematic PCI. If you would like to launch a new thematic PCI, you should contact a Managing Board member and explain your project.
See the dedicated post “steps in the creation of a new PCI”.
FATE OF PCI-RECOMMENDED ARTICLES
The goal of PCI is to evaluate and recommend preprints, so as to make them valid, citable and final articles. The normal outcome is to leave PCI-recommended articles on preprint servers or open repositories.
However, for various reasons, the authors of PCI-recommended articles may prefer:
- To submit their article to Peer Community Journal (published as is, for free)
- To submit their article to a PCI-friendly journal (acceptance with no further peer review OR response in 5 days OR use of the PCI evaluation if appropriate)
- To submit their article to another journal.
Authors, recommenders and reviewers for PCI must agree to comply with the code of conduct.
CODE OF CONDUCT
Authors, recommenders and reviewers for Peer Community in (PCI) must agree to comply with the following rules:
- Recommenders for PCI and reviewers should have no financial conflict of interest (see a definition below) relating to the articles they evaluate.
- Authors should have no financial conflict of interest (see a defintion below) relating to the articles they submit to PCI. Submitted preprints must therefore contain a section indicating that “The authors of this article declare that they have no financial conflict of interest with the content of this article.” If authors are unsure whether their article may be associated with financial conflicts of interest, they can send an Email to firstname.lastname@example.org to ask for clarification.
- Authors should have as little non-financial conflict of interest (see a definition below) as possible relating to the articles they submit to PCI, although a complete absence of conflict of interest may be difficult to achieve due to the scientific interest in the subject. Such conflicts of interest must be declared by the authors in the “Conflict of interest” section of their submitted article.
- Recommenders for PCI and reviewers should have as little non-financial conflict of interest (see a definition below) as possible relating to the articles they evaluate, although a complete absence of conflict of interest may be difficult to achieve due to the scientific interest in the subject required. For instance, recommenders for PCI and reviewers should not evaluate articles written by close colleagues and coworkers (in general, are considered “close colleagues and coworkers” people belonging to the same team in the last four years, people with whom they have had recurrent contacts to co-publish articles in the last four years, to receive joint funding in the last four years), written by authors with whom they are in scientific competition or with whom they have conflicting relationships, or written by authors whom they know evaluated – as recommender or reviewer – one or more of their own articles in the last four years, or written by family members, friends, or anyone for whom bias might affect the nature of their recommendation.
- Reviews and recommendations should be of high quality. Reviews should be sufficiently deep and detailed for the PCI recommender handling the recommendation process to gain a full appreciation of the qualities, defects and limitations of the article. Texts (reviews, recommendations, comments, messages to authors) will be returned to PCI recommenders and reviewers if they do not respect these rules.
- Authors, recommenders for PCI and reviewers must ensure that the data for recommended articles are available to readers, through deposition in an open data repository, such as Zenodo, Dryad or institutional repositories, for example. Deposited data must have a digital object identifier (DOI). Authors, recommenders and reviewers must also check that details of the quantitative analyses (e.g. data treatment and statistical scripts in R, bioinformatic pipelines scripts, etc.) in the recommended articles are available to the readers, as appendices or supplementary online materials (in this case, the supplementary material must have a digital object identifier (DOI)), for example.
What is a conflict of interest?
- A financial interest occurs when the authors, recommenders or reviewers:-Receive (or have received in the past four years) salaries, reimbursements, fees, fellowship, grants, or funding from an entity with financial interests that may be affected by the results of the research presented in the article,-have shares or stocks in an entity with economic interests that may be affected by the results of the research presented in the article or-hold patents linked to the research presented in the article
- Non-financial conflicts of interests include political, personal, religious, ideological, academic, and intellectual interests of the authors, recommenders or reviewers that may be affected by the results of the research presented in the article.
The Managing Board of each thematic PCI has the right to exclude recommenders if they do not respect these rules.
“[...] thorough & speedy handling! Thank you also to @MatthewPetelle & an anonymous review for their excellent feedback [...]”
"a very constructive review process with @PCIEvolBiol”
“The @PeerCommunityIn is one of the most innovative & exciting current initiatives in scholarly communication & #openscience”
"very nice interface. I love the concept too, of course ;)”
“The associated recommendation is absolutely lovely and a nice way to finish a let's say very special work year”
“Pushed waves are just the best ! Thanks a lot to @benflips and @PCIEvolBiol for this beautiful recommendation”
“I really recommend to every scientists that value #OpenScience to submit their next papers to @PCIEvolBiol, it was a great and pleasant experience.”
“All this to say: submit your preprint to @PCIEvolBiol you won't be disappointed”
“I am much more excited than ever when a paper was accepted in a standard journal. This system is just awesome!”
“The extraordinary work done by @PeerCommunityIn is slowly but surely being recognized. #PeerCommunityIn is paving the way to a more accessible and democratic research. I'm a proud recommended of @PCI_Ecology and honnered to take part to this fantastic journey.”
“a very helpful & supportive recommendation @PCI_Ecology”
“I would love to see something along the lines of @PCIEvolBiol for our field. Seems like that could save a lot of people a lot of time.”
“a very good experience, and very high quality editorial work”
“Really great experience to submit our work to @PCIEvolBiol”
“@PCIEvolBiol should be the future if funding agencies and universities stop looking at impact factors to evaluate your CV @DORAssessment”
“I highly recommend it.”
“thorough and transparent review process.”
“Much faster, and more humane.”
“a highly rewarding experience, as usual”
“Free, high quality reviews of pre-prints.”
“@PCIEvolBiol it! That will move it forward.”
“It was a very easy and uncomplicated process!”
“a good experience, I am happy to have contributed to this #OpenScience alternative.”
“Delighted to support @PCIEvolBiol and experience their professionalism & dedication [...]This is how scientific publishing should be: by the community and for the community!”
“I've had a great experience with @PCI_Ecology, the open peer review is excellent [...]”
“an excellent, transparent, thorough #OpenScience #PeerReview experience! ”
“a refreshing and all around great experience.”
“We highly recommend fellow researchers to give PCI a try !”
“@PCIEvolBiol initiatives should be the future anyway”
“A high-quality, impartial, and transparent reviewing process. All free (as in free beer) and #openaccess. What else do we need?”
“inspiring to see how peer review can work well in a preprint-first publishing world!”
“Once again, this was a wonderful experience and I strongly recommend everyone to submit their work to @PCIEvolBiol!!!”