The "Peer Community in" (PCI) project is a non-profit scientific organization aimed at creating specific communities of researchers reviewing and recommending articles in their field. These specific communities of researchers are entitled Peer Community in X, e.g. Peer Community in Paleontology.
See also the general PCI project website for more details.
PCI offers scientists a free, stimulating, transparent and non-exclusive way to validate and promote their scientific results, by removing this monopoly from conventional journals.
The goal of PCI is to highlight and recommend articles of particular interest to the concerned community. Articles recommended by the Peer Communities in X are peer-reviewed finalized article of high value that do not necessarily need to be published in traditional journals.
The evaluation process of PCI is very similar to that of traditional scientific journals. Each evaluated submission is handled by a member of the community called a recommender and goes through a regular peer-review examination. After one or more cycle of peer-review and revisions, which are all posted on the open online archive, the recommender whether to accept or reject the submitted article. If accepted, the article is said to be recommended and can be cited as peer-reviewed. The recommender writes a recommendation text, similar to a News & Views piece, that is posted with a DOI on the PCI website alongside all of the editorial correspondence.
A “recommendation” is a short article written by the recommender describing why the article is particularly interesting. It has a DOI and is published on the PCI website. The recommendation is similar to a News & Views piece. It has its own title, contains between about 300 and 1500 words, describes the context, explains why the article is particularly interesting and contains references (at least one, to the recommended article). The limitations of the article may also be discussed.
Stimulating: Peer Communities recommend and promote remarkable articles in their field.
Free and Open: Peer Communities are entirely free of charge for authors and readers. Recommendations, decisions, reviews, and comments are all published under a CC BY-ND License. All articles are deposited in open online archives.
Transparent: Reviews and recommendations are freely available on the Peer Communities in X websites. Recommendations are signed by the recommenders. Reviews may remain anonymous at the discretion of the reviewers.
Based on sound and independent evaluations: Recommenders and reviewers must declare that they have no conflict of interest with the authors or the content of the article they evaluate and recommend. The Managing Board performs a quality control check on the format and deontology of reviews and recommendations.
Not exclusive: Articles may be recommended by different Peer Communities in X (a feature of particular interest for articles relating to multidisciplinary studies) and may even be published in conventional journals afterwards, although PCI recommendations should in the end stand on their own.
Several Peer Communities in X will probably coexist in various scientific fields (e.g. phytopathology, ecology, cancer research, etc.). The goal is not to set up a monopoly, and several alternative recommending systems may coexist with the "Peer Community in" project.
See the Differences with other projects post on the PCI website
The non-profit “Peer Community in” organization is responsible for the creation and the functioning of the various specific Peer Communities in X. The Managing Board members of each Peer Community in X will also be members of the non-profit “Peer Community in” organization. Hence, representatives of all existing Peer Communities in X would decide the creation of each new Peer Community in X collectively. Hence, if you are interested to launch a new Peer Community in X, you should contact a Managing Board member and explain him/her your project.
Yes, and this is one of the chief advantages of this recommending process. The recommendation process is not exclusive and articles of interest to several different Peer Communities in X could be recommended by all those communities. This aspect is of particular interest for articles dealing with multidisciplinary studies. There would be no a priori hierarchy of communities, although some would be highly generalist (e.g. Peer Community in Mathematics) whereas others would be more specialized (e.g. Peer Community in Entomology).
However, to avoid recommendations of various versions of the same work, an article already peer-reviewed and recommended by a Peer Community in X could only be recommended by another Peer Community in X as it stands. In other words, once a Peer Community in X has recommended an article, the latter must be considered peer-reviewed, i.e. like a published article or postprint, by all the other Peer Communities in X interested by recommending it.
The “Peer Community in” project is an original idea of evolutionary biologists Denis Bourguet, Benoit Facon and Thomas Guillemaud, working at Inra (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) institute in France.
Becoming a recommender of Peer Community in Paleontology is not associated with a substantial workload. Each recommender is expected to review and recommend 1 or 2 articles per year in average. A recommender who decides to handle the evaluation of an article submitted to Peer Community in Paleontology has a role very similar to that of an editor in a conventional journal (find reviewers, collect reviews, and make an editorial decision based on reviews). If after peer-review the recommender accepts to recommend the revised version of an article, he/she is expected to write a short recommendation text explaining why the article is particularly interesting for the community.
The average recommender would recommend 1 or 2 articles per year. No recommender is allowed to recommend more than 5 articles per year to minimize the risk that a few recommenders are making all of the recommendations.
Scientists will care because recommendations are issued by a recognized group of specialists, and colleagues, employers and funding agencies will inevitably recognize it as a mark of quality.
We expect Peer Community in Paleontology to gather several hundreds recommenders, but there is no restriction. This size would be sufficient to recommend a large number of articles even if each recommender recommends as few as one or two articles per year.
The Managing Board of Peer Community in Paleontology is a group of recommenders from this community. They are mainly in charge of approving the nomination of new recommenders for Peer Community in Paleontology. The Managing Board also deals with problems arising between authors and recommenders who evaluated and/or recommended their articles. It detects and deals with dysfunctions of Peer Community in Paleontology, and may exclude recommenders, if necessary. It also performs a quality check on the format and the deontology of reviews and recommendations published by Peer Community in Paleontology. Finally, members of the Managing Board of Peer Community in Paleontology are part of the non-profit organization “Peer Community in”. This non-profit organization is responsible for the creation and the functioning of the various specific Peer Communities in X.
The current members of the Managing board are listed here. The initial Managing Board of Peer Community in Paleontology was composed by the founders in order to represent a selection of the different sub-disciplines and methodologies of Paleontology. After an initial period of two years, the Managing Board will consist of six persons chosen randomly among the recommenders of the community and assisted by the managers of Peer Community in Paleontology. Half these six nominated persons will be replaced each year. Chosen recommenders would be allowed to decline. In such case, another person is chosen at random and so on until six members are nominated.
See the PCI Economic model post on the PCI website
No, they are not.
Yes, the Managing Board can exclude recommenders if their recommendations are of insufficient quality or if they do not respect the code of conduct of Peer Community in Paleontology.
Yes. Peer Community in Paleontology regularly backs up its data in several mirror web sites. Recommendations and peer-reviews are deposited in HAL open archive.
PCI Paleo recommends articles dealing with all fields of Paleontology. PCI Paleo primarily considers original research articles. Other types of contributions (e.g., reviews, data papers, method/software papers) may also be considered pending they are of sufficient interest for the community and presented in a comprehensive and objective way. All articles must be deposited in an open online archive and have a DOI.
No specific formatting is required before submitting an article to Peer Community in Paleontology. That being said, we strongly encourage authors, for their own benefit, to show good sense when formatting their article in order to improve readability. Peer Community in Paleontology does not provide any copy-editing or proofing services. The final, accepted version of the article will be formatted by our team and will include a link to the recommendation and peer-review reports.
No. First, not all submitted articles are considered for evaluation. Recommenders select submissions they find interesting for the community, then initiate the evaluation process. Second, not all evaluated articles are recommended after the peer-review process. The aim of Peer Community in Paleontology is to publicly highlight and recommend articles that deserve to be considered as finalized scientific articles of high quality.
You must first deposit your article in an open archive, such as bioRxiv, PaleorXiv, and PeerJ Preprints, and ensure that the article has a DOI and is not simultaneously under consideration for publication in a traditional journal. Then, you need to log in to the Peer Community in Paleontology website or sign up if you do not have an account yet. Once logged, click on the green button "Submit a preprint" and follow the procedure. If a recommender of Peer Community in Paleontology is interested by evaluating your article, he/she may initiate the evaluation process.
Yes, probably. Authors are free to submit their article to Peer Community in Paleontology. But depending on the size of Peer Community in Paleontology, and the number of articles awaiting evaluation, and their quality, a fraction of those articles may not be considered.
The processes of publication in a traditional journal and recommendation by %(longname)s are not exclusive: an article can be submitted to a journal after its evaluation by %(longname)s. However, simultaneous submission to a journal and to %(longname)s is not permitted. Indeed, articles submitted to %(longname)s must not be published or submitted for publication elsewhere until the %(longname)s evaluation process has been completed. The article must, therefore, have been rejected or recommended by %(longname)s before it can be submitted to a journal.
No, only reviews and comments leading to the attribution of a recommendation (positive, but with criticisms and suggestions for improvement) are published. When a paper is rejected, the reviews and comments are sent to the authors but are not published.
Peer Community in Paleontology focuses primarily on the evaluation and promotion of new research articles. However, articles already peer-reviewed elsewhere, for example by other Peer Communities or by conventional journals, can also be secondarily recommended by Peer Community In Paleontology. Such articles (commonly referred as "postprints") are recommended by a recommender and a co-recommender, without additional peer review.
Recommenders of Peer Community in Paleontology are alerted when a new article is submitted for recommendation. If one of them finds the article of interest for the community, he/she initiates the evaluation process and seeks the opinion of at least two external reviewers. Recommender and reviewers must declare that they have no conflict of interest of any kind with the content or the authors of the article and that they are not close colleagues, recent co-authors, relatives, or friends of any of the authors. A classic cycle of peer review follows (reviews, decisions, authors' replies, revisions), and the authors are asked to upload revised versions of the article to the open archive after each revision. Eventually, the handling recommender decides either to reject or accept the revised article for recommendation. If the article is accepted, the recommender writes a recommendation text that is published (with a DOI) on the Peer Community in Paleontology website, alongside all of the editorial correspondence (reviews, recommender's decisions, authors' replies). A final, formatted version of the article linking to the recommendation and peer-review reports is uploaded on the open online archive. The article can now be cited as peer-reviewed.
For postprints, the process is slightly different since they are not peer-reviewed a second time. Two recommenders of Peer Community in Paleontology consider a postprint as particularly interesting and worth recommending to the community. They write a recommendation that details the pros and cons of the postprint. Once validated by the Managing Board, the recommendation is published (with a DOI) on the Peer Community in Paleontology website and provide a link to the recommended postprint.
Any recommender of Peer Community in Paleontology can perform this task, provided that he/she follows the code of conduct of Peer Community in Paleontology.
A “recommendation” is a short article, similar to a News & Views piece, written by one or several recommenders and describing why an article is particularly interesting. It has a DOI and is published in pdf and html formats in the Peer Community in Paleontology website. Each recommendation has its own title, contains between about 300 and 1500 words, includes references, describes the context and explains why the recommended article is particularly interesting. The limitations of the article may also be discussed.
Bias, cronyism, retaliation or flattery are limited by 1) the transparency of the reviews, which are freely available and possibly signed, and 2) the transparency of comments and recommendations, which are freely available and signed. In addition, Peer Community in Paleontology has established a code of conduct (no conflict of interest, no recommending of articles authored by recent co-authors and/or friends, etc.) to be followed by its recommenders. The Managing Board of Peer Community in Paleontology also performs a quality check on the deontology of the reviews and recommendations.
All information leading to the recommendation of an article is made public: the name of the recommender who recommends the article, his/her comments, the reviews and suggested corrections and the authors’ replies are available on the Peer Community in Paleontology website, and the consecutive versions of the article are deposited in open archives. Only the name of the reviewers may be withheld at their discretion.
All of the comments, suggestions and corrections leading to the recommendation being awarded are made public. Negative comments/reviews, as long as they are respectful and provide constructive criticisms and suggestions for improvement, are therefore also published if the article is finally recommended.
If an article is rejected after peer review, reports and decision are sent to the authors, but they will not be published by Peer Community in Paleontology and will not be publicly released. This editorial material will be safely stored in our database where no one but the Managing Board can have access to it.
Yes, any authors, belonging or not to Peer Community in Paleontology, can submit their articles to Peer Community in Paleontology.
Each recommendation by Peer Community in Paleontology has a DOI and can therefore be cited as suggested below (in your CV and in manuscripts):
When an article is recommended by PCI Paleo, you can cite it as follows, by indicating which version of the article has been peer-reviewed and recommended:
Peer Community in Paleontology does not provide any copy-editing or proofing services. We encourage authors to format their article in a simple way in order to improve readability during the peer review process, for their own benefit and that of the readers. When an article is recommended by Peer Community in Paleontology, a final, formatted version is uploaded to the open online archive with a clear link to the recommendation and peer-review reports on PCI Paleo.
Yes, recommended articles are indexed. Google Scholar indexes all sort of documents (articles, books, reports, etc.), including articles deposited in repositories such as arXiv, bioRxiv, PaleorXiv, PeerJ Preprints, and HAL. These platforms therefore record preprint citations in the same way as they record citations of articles published in journals, and these can eventually be merged. An author’s profile in Google Scholar would therefore take into account recommended articles and recommendations.
Most, if not all journals already accept the citation of articles not published in traditional journals (e.g. book chapters and reports), even when these have not been peer-reviewed. In contrast, articles recommended by Peer Community in Paleontology have been peer-reviewed, so we see no reason why traditional journals would refuse to consider them as valid citations.
More and more journals accept submission of articles that are deposited as preprints in open archives. See http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/index.php.
An article peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Paleontology remains "unpublished" in the eyes of traditional academic publishers, but with a seal of guaranteed quality. Thus there is no reason that would discourage a journal to accept submission of articles recommended by a PCI. Quite the opposite: PCI-recommended articles have already been through one or several cycles of peer review by experts in the field and the peer-review reports can be re-used by the journal's editorial team to make an informed decision on whether or not to publish a particular article.
See the growing list of PCI-friendly journals.
The open online archive will usually automatically link to the published paper. The recommendation refers only to the version of the article that has been recommended by Peer Community in Paleontology.
Yes, everyone, including authors and readers, can comment on recommendations. All comments are welcome, provided that they deal with the science, are signed and are respectful to the authors, the recommenders who made the recommendations and the other commentators. Comments considered as abusive can be notified to the Managing Board, which can decide to withdraw these comments.
Yes, everyone, including authors and readers, can comment on recommendations, comments, and the corresponding article. All comments are welcome, provided they deal with the science, are signed and respectful to the authors, the recommenders who made the recommendations and the other commentators. Replies to a comment not respecting these rules can be notified to the Managing Board, which can decide to withdraw those replies.
If a reader disagrees with a recommendation or with any comments on an article, he can write a comment. This comment will be published, provided that it is signed and is respectful to the authors, the recommenders who made the recommendations and the other commentators. Comments not respecting these rules could be notified to the Managing Board, which can decide to withdraw those comments.