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scientific organization that aims to create specific communities of researchers reviewing and recommending, for free, unpublished preprints in their field.

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Image Credits

The network image was drawn by Martin Grandjean: A force-based network visualization - CC BY-SA.

Steps in the creation of a new PCI


Information about PCI

-Proposers are invited to read the PCI website:

-Blogs are good resources for proposers:


Adherence to PCI principles

-Quality, reproducibility and accessibility of science are the three main goals of PCI.

-The quality of a scientific article should be evaluated by its content and not by the journal in which it is published or by the journal’s notoriety metrics.

-Preprints evaluated and validated by a PCI have a priori the same value as articles published in scientific journals.

-Free open access is desirable in the field of scientific publishing.

-Scientific publishing should not be as expensive as it is today.

-Science should be free of financial conflict of interests.


Basic steps in the creation of a PCI

-Preliminary discussions with the co-founders of PCI

-Submission of a project outline to the PCI association

-Discussions and a vote within the PCI association (about 1 month)

-Clarifications/corrections may be requested from the proposers

-If accepted, the new PCI opens a few months later


Questionnaire to help proposers to prepare their application and to help the PCI Association to contextualize and assess the project

1) Define the proposed PCI

-Name of the PCI

-Field(s) of the PCI. Please be specific


2) Define the target community

-The estimated size of the international community in the field

-(Rough) number of preprints deposited per year in the field

-(Rough) number of papers published annually in the field

-(Rough) number of participants at major international conferences in the field


3) Define the proposed organization

-Proposed founders* (who will represent the PCI)

-Proposed managers (if different from the founders) (who will manage the PCI)

-List of researchers who have agreed to be part of the future managing board*

-List of researchers who have agreed to be part of the future 1st recommenders* (a list of at least 50 people is required)

-Are there recommenders from other PCIs who could be recommenders for this PCI? How many?


4) Work for and help to the PCI

-How many hours per week the direction team will be able to dedicate to the development and functioning of their PCI during the 1st year? (minimum investment of 5 hours/week is required))

-Can you count on the help of volunteers to work for the new PCI (to communicate, go to congresses, invite recommenders, attract authors, etc.)?

-Can you obtain financial and symbolic support from scientific societies or other research institutions to help the functioning of your PCI? (the basic cost of a PCI is about 10 K€/year, and will be supported by the PCI organisation)

-Do you have contacts with EiCs of journals who would agree to make their journals PCI friendly


5) First commitment to submit

-list of researchers(*) who commit to submitting at least one article to the PCI in the year following its opening. They can be part of the recommenders list, but this must be a list of > 20 researchers, independent from each other, i.e, not future co-authors for their submitted articles. Such a list would be a mark of the probable success of the PCI. 


*It is important that the founders, proposed managing board members, and proposed 1st recommenders are:

– Internationally recognized

– Not predominantly French

– From a wide range of countries

– Roughly balanced in terms of gender

Any evidence of whether these criteria are met is welcome. In addition, it may be useful to have the link to their website (if they have one) or to their GoogleScholar profile, details such as present or past editorial responsibility if they had/have some, and their current position (postdoc, assist prof, prof, etc.). These details may sound boring, but the success of a new PCI is linked to the reputation of the founders, managers, and first recommenders, and their ability to attract new recommenders and especially authors. In short, they must be trustworthy to the community.


Detailed steps for the creation of a PCI

1) Choose one or two colleagues to set up and manage the PCI

Having at least two administrators improves the monitoring and sustainability of the project.

Setting up the PCI involves defining the subject it will cover, establishing a first group of recommenders, and submitting the project for validation by the PCI association.

Administration of the PCI involves appointing more recommenders, encouraging preprint submissions and ensuring that the evaluation and recommendation processes are managed correctly.

2) Define the subject

The subject should be defined carefully. It can be wide or narrow. A wider subject may attract more papers, resulting in a more selective PCI. However, if the subject is too wide, the various members of the community may fail to identify themselves as belonging to the PCI concerned. Not everyone in the field will join the PCI, so, if it is too narrow, the community it attracts may be unsustainable. Statistics on preprint use in each field may be helpful (e.g. Note of the 13th Sept 2022: it seems that statistics per field are no longer available).

Try to make sure that the new PCI does not overlap too much with other existing or forthcoming PCIs (contact us – contact[ at ]peercommunityin[ dot ]org– for verification).

3) Establish a first group of recommenders

You will need to establish a group of 20 to 50 recommenders. This initial group of recommenders must be high-quality scientists, recognized in the field, with as many international members as possible, members of learned societies and of editorial boards of renowned journals in the field, and winners of prizes or competitions, for example. The success of a PCI depends on the inclusion of both high-profile senior scientists and dynamic young researchers. Gender parity is also desirable.

4) Submit your proposal to the PCI association for discussions and approval

The creation of a new PCI must be approved by the non-profit “Peer Community in” organization. The members of the managing boards of the existing PCIs form the board of this organization. Send your proposal (basically the answers to the questionnaire above) to contact[ at ]peercommunityin[ dot ]org for approval by the PCI association.

5) Recruit more recommenders

Once the PCI has been validated, you should use the first group of recommenders to appoint more recommenders. This process should take place after the creation of the website for the PCI, protected by a password to prevent general public access, providing a means of registering new recommenders.

6) Set up a managing board

Once a certain predefined number of recommenders have been recruited (e.g. 50, 100, or 200), a managing board should be defined. The members of this managing board are responsible for validating editorial decisions concerning the preprints submitted, approving the nomination of new recommenders and dealing with potential problems arising between authors and the recommenders responsible for evaluating and/or recommending preprints (see the FAQ). The managing board must have five to 15 recommenders and may include the administrators.

7) Open publicly the PCI: receive submissions and manage evaluations

The management of a submitted preprint – from its submission to its rejection or recommendation, excluding the evaluation by the recommender and the reviewers – takes about two hours, on average. The administrators decide how best to organize preprint management (shared between administrators, managing board members, recommenders, or other people).

Points 5, 6, 7 and 9 can be ordered differently

8) Communicate on the PCI

Social media communication can be helpful for the development of the PCI. Recommendations are usually relayed on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Linkedin… Hence, we advise you to include someone who is familiar with social networking among the people who will operate the PCI.

9) Find a managing editor

Managing submissions and their evaluation is time-consuming (at least 2h/article). So, when your PCI starts receiving many articles, we strongly advise you to find a managing editor or to set up an organization in order to perform this task.



We can help you by providing extensive documentary resources about PCI, including short movies, and templates of messages for the invitation of co-founders and recommenders. If the creation of your PCI is accepted, we will provide you with a fully functional website (front and back office) and help you to manage the first few preprints submitted.


Send any questions to contact[ at ]peercommunityin[ dot ]org