Differences with other projects

Many new publication services have recently appeared. Here is a non-exhaustive list of these services, with comments, highlighting the differences between these services and PCI.

Overlay journals (eg Discrete Analysis, Discrete Mathematics & Theoretical Computer Science) are electronic open-access journals containing peer-reviewed articles deposited in open archives, such as arXiv.org, and not published elsewhere. Overlay journals are diamond open-access (free for readers and free for authors). The PCI project is not designed to create journals of any kind (even overlay journals). It is, instead, simply a system for evaluating preprints and awarding them a recommendation if the recommenders handling them consider the peer-review evaluation to be sufficiently positive to merit such recommendation.

SciPost is an online scientific publication portal. Its journals (in physics) are diamond open-access (free for readers and free for authors) and use a stringent peer-reviewing procedure. Articles must be deposited in arXiv.org before submission. The main difference between SciPost and PCI is that SciPost is a journal publishing articles. PCIs do not publish the preprint they recommend, only the peer-review evaluation, the editorial correspondence and recommendation texts explaining the reasons why a recommender decided to recommend a preprint for a PCI. As the preprints recommended by PCIs are not published by the PCI, they can be submitted to a journal for publication even after their recommendation by a PCI.

F1000Research is a for-profit business offering an open-access and open peer-review publication platform. Regardless of the type of article, F1000Research charges an article-processing charge (APC) dependent on length (up to 1,000 words: US $150; 1,000-2,500 words: US $500; over 2,500 words: US $1,000; a surcharge of $1,000 is placed on any article exceeding 8,000 words). Articles are published first and then peer-reviewed. The main difference between this system and PCI is that, in F1000Research: i) the authors themselves identify, suggest and invite reviewers, ii) no recommenders intervene in the evaluation process, and there are therefore no editorial decisions during the evaluation process, iii) the reviewers themselves decide whether to approve the article. Wellcome Open Research and Gates Open Research operate on the same platform.

F1000Prime is a service for the recommendation of articles after their publication. Readers have to pay to read F1000 recommendations (subscriptions of US $9.95/month). F1000Prime is a for-profit business and an actor within the current system based on commercial journal publications.

Winnover is “an open-access online scholarly publishing platform that employs open post-publication peer review”. There is a small fee (US$25 per DOI) for paper archiving and no recommendations are provided. Winnover allows authors: 1) to upload an article onto their platform, and then encourages researchers, colleagues, and other scientists to make critical comments on the article over a given period of time, 2) to revise the article on the basis of the comments received and 3) to decide to freeze the article by providing it with a DOI. The end result is thus not a “recommendation” as such, but an open process of critical review without a given threshold determining whether an article may be considered scientifically “valid”. Articles can stand in Winnover with no peer-review, as in a preprint server.

The Peerage of Science operates upstream from the publication system and provides support to existing scientific journals. It is therefore an actor within the current system based on commercial journal publications. The goal is the active submission of an article to obtain constructive criticism before its submission (and the responses to the criticisms received) to a scientific journal. It is stated that “Authors may accept a live publishing offer from a subscription-only journal, or may choose to export the peer reviews to any journal of their choice.” and that “The revenues of Peerage of Science come from organizations wishing to purchase the peer review services for use in their decision-making, such as publishers, funding organizations, and universities.” Again, this is a very different model from the PCI project.

biOverlay is similar to an overlay journal for the natural sciences, except that the authors do not submit their article to biOverlay. By contrast to PCI, authors do not submit their own preprints to biOverlay for evaluation. Thus, the authors do not necessarily known that their papers are selected by biOverlay and sent out for review. Associate editors choose the articles they wish to evaluate.

PreLights is a community platform for highlighting and commenting on preprints. It is a service run by the biological community and supported by The Company of Biologists, a not-for-profit publishing organization. By contrast to PCI, authors do not submit their own preprints to PreLights for evaluation. Early-career researchers select preprints and write digests about them.

PREreview is a community and platform for the collaborative writing of preprint reviews. It is a group of journal clubs providing feedback to authors. By contrast to PCI, the authors do not submit their own preprints to PREreview for evaluation.

Hypothes.is is a non-profit organization providing a free online plugin for the annotation, on the web, of almost any kind of document (e.g. blogs, scientific articles, e-books) in very different formats (e.g. PDF, Html.). Hypothes.is has recently begun collaborating with bioRxiv.org to allow the layering of discussions over preprints. This organization offers the possibility of creating journal clubs with a mode for annotations publicly visible to all hypothes.is users. By contrast to PCI, the authors do not submit their own preprints to Hypothes.is for evaluation.

PubPeer, supported by the non-profit PubPeer Foundation, is an online platform originally devoted to post-publication comments. However, PubPeer has recently been opened up to preprint reviews. By contrast to PCI, preprint reviews published by PubPeer are not requested by the authors and are not used to help recommenders make editorial decisions concerning preprints.

eLife is a non-profit organization running an open-access journal. It was originally free for readers and authors, but publication fees have since been introduced. Currently, “A fee of $2,500 is collected for published papers” – see https://submit.elifesciences.org/html/elife_author_instructions.html#.

PeerJ is an open-access peer-reviewed scientific megajournal covering research in biological and medical sciences. Authors have to pay to publish. They either pay US $1,095 to publish a paper, or each author pays a one-off fee of US $399 (or more) allowing them to publish one (or more) paper/year in the journal. Additional fees may be required for very long manuscripts. See https://peerj.com/pricing/.

A very interesting link to ReimagineReview, a registry of platforms and experiments innovating around peer review of scientific outputs

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