Peer Community In

“Peer Community in” (PCI) is a non-profit scientific organization that aims to create specific communities of researchers reviewing and recommending, for free, unpublished preprints in their field.

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The network image was drawn by Martin Grandjean: A force-based network visualization - http://www.martingrandjean.ch/wp-content/uploads/2013/10/Graphe3.png. CC BY-SA.

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.

A very valuable resource is the ReimagineReview explorer tool of ASAPbio.

  • Overlay journals (eg Discrete AnalysisDiscrete Mathematics & Theoretical Computer Science, Quantum, JOSS) 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 main difference between PCI and overlay journals is that the goal of PCI is not to publish the preprints but to evaluate and recommend preprints to make them valid, citable and final articles. The normal outcome is therefore to leave them on preprint servers or open repositories. However, PCI offers authors the possibility to publish their PCI-recommended articles in Peer Community Journal as is, immediately and at no cost, or to submit them in PCI-friendly or any other journals.
  • 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 PCI and SciPost journals is that the goal of PCI is not to publish the preprints but to evaluate and recommend preprints to make them valid, citable and final articles. The normal outcome is therefore to leave them on preprint servers or open repositories. However, PCI offers authors the possibility to publish their PCI-recommended articles in Peer Community Journal as is, immediately and at no cost, or to submit them in PCI-friendly or any other journals.
  • F1000Research is a for-profit business offering an open-access and open peer-review publication platform belonging to Taylor & Francis Group. F1000Research charges an article-processing charge (APC) depending on the article type (from 800$ to 1350$ in Feb 2022). 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 editors (or 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. In addition, a major difference between PCI and overlay journals is that the goal of PCI is not to publish the preprints but to evaluate and recommend preprints to make them valid, citable and final articles. The normal outcome is therefore to leave them on preprint servers or open repositories. However, PCI offers authors the possibility to publish their PCI-recommended articles in Peer Community Journal as is, immediately and at no cost, or to submit them in PCI-friendly or any other journals. Wellcome Open Research, Gates Open Research and Open Research Europe operate on the same platform and publish articles based on research they fund.
  • Faculty Opinion (previously F1000Prime) is a service for the recommendation of articles after their publication, also belonging to Taylor & Francis Group. Readers have to pay to read 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.
  • Axios Review (closed) was a company providing peer-review services and acting as an intermediary between authors and journals.
  • Winnover (closed) was “an open-access online scholarly publishing platform that employs open post-publication peer review”. It has been bought by Authorea in 2016, itself bought by Wiley in 2018.
  • The Peerage of Science (closed) was a service operating upstream from the publication system and providing support to existing scientific journals. To our knowledge, its website has not been active since 2021. It was therefore an actor within the current system based on commercial journal publications. The goal was the active submission of an article to obtain constructive criticism before its submission (and the responses to the criticisms received) to a scientific journal.
  • biOverlay (closed) was similar to an overlay journal for the natural sciences, except that the authors did not submit their article to biOverlay. By contrast to PCI, authors did not submit their own preprints to biOverlay for evaluation. Thus, the authors did not necessarily know that their papers were selected by biOverlay and sent out for review. Associate editors chose 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 gathers journal clubs providing feedback to authors but it also publishes reviews (of preprints) written by any researcher with an Orcid iD. 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.
  • Plaudit is a tool allowing researchers to publicly endorse research publications – including preprints – they find valuable. Plaudit identifies endorsements via researcher ORCID iD, and the articles they endorse through the DOIs of those article. A browser extension is needed. Plaudit is open source, community-driven, free to use and not for profit.
  • Review Commons is a platform that peer-reviews research papers before submission to a journal. It provides authors with a Refereed Preprint, which includes the authors’ manuscript, reports from a single round of peer review and the authors’ response. The refereed preprint is then sent to bioRxiv and affiliate journals. The goal is to facilitate the evaluation by journals afterwards. Review Commons is a partnership between EMBO and ASAPbio and is initially free. By contrast to PCI, there is no editorial decision and its purpose is to facilitate the submission procedures of commercial journals.
  • Peeriodicals is a platform gathering virtual journals whose editors in chief are free to select the manuscripts they want to highlight. There is no mandatory formal submission by the authors (although authors can suggest their papers), no mandatory formal peer-review (although there can be some) and no formal editorial decision (although there can be some). Peeriodicals is free for readers, authors and editors.
  • 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, ELife’s publication fee is 3000$. The main difference between PCI and this journal is that the goal of PCI is not to publish the preprints but to evaluate and recommend preprints to make them valid, citable and final articles. The normal outcome is therefore to leave them on preprint servers or open repositories. However, PCI offers authors the possibility to publish their PCI-recommended articles in Peer Community Journal as is, immediately and at no cost, or to submit them in PCI-friendly or any other journals.
  • PeerJ is a family of open-access peer-reviewed scientific journals. PeerJ – the Journal of Life & Environmental Sciences is a megajournal covering research in biological and medical sciences. Authors have to pay to publish. They either pay US $1,195 to $1,395 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/. The main difference between PCI and these journals is that the goal of PCI is not to publish the preprints but to evaluate and recommend preprints to make them valid, citable and final articles. The normal outcome is therefore to leave them on preprint servers or open repositories. However, PCI offers authors the possibility to publish their PCI-recommended articles in Peer Community Journal as is, immediately and at no cost, or to submit them in PCI-friendly or any other journals.
  • Qeios is a for-profit company running a platform hosting research articles (it includes a text editor to create articles), definitions and peer reviews. Any researcher can openly post review reports at any time for any article (published in a journal or not). Authors can use a free service as an individual or have to pay (£15.99/month, in Feb 2022) to use collaboration tools. By contrast to PCI, authors do not necessarily submit their own preprints to obtain peer-reviews, and there is no editorial decisions.

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