FAQs

"PEER COMMUNITY IN" PROJECT


FUNCTIONING OF PEER COMMUNITY IN PALEONTOLOGY


PEER COMMUNITY IN PALEONTOLOGY STRUCTURE


SELECTION OF ARTICLES


ARTICLE RECOMMENDATION PROCESS


TRANSPARENCY AND ETHICS


FATE AND CITATIONS OF RECOMMENDED ARTICLES


COMMENTING ON ARTICLE RECOMMENDATIONS

 


"PEER COMMUNITY IN" PROJECT

What is the “Peer Community in” project?

The "Peer Community in" (PCI) project is a non-profit scientific organization aimed at creating specific communities of researchers reviewing and recommending preprints 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.

What is the goal of PCI?

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 preprints of particular interest to the concerned community. Preprints 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.

What is the evaluation process of PCI?

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 preprint server, the recommender whether to accept or reject the submitted preprint. If accepted, the preprint 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.

What is a recommendation?

A “recommendation” is a short article written by the recommender describing why the preprint 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 preprint is particularly interesting and contains references (at least one, to the preprint recommended). The limitations of the preprint may also be discussed.

What are the key features of the recommendation process?

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 preprints 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 preprint 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.

What place would the "Peer Community in" project occupy in the scientific landscape?

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.

F1000Prime: Readers have to pay to read the F1000 recommendations. F1000Prime is a for-profit business and is not intended to replace the current system based on journal publications. F1000Prime recommending concerns only published articles. F1000Prime does not, to our knowledge, wish to recommend articles deposited in open archives.

Winnover is “an open access online scholarly publishing platform that employs open post-publication peer review”. There is a fee ($25 per DOI) and it does not provide any recommendation. 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 and 2) to revise the article on the basis of the comments received and to provide the new version with a DOI. It is therefore 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”.

The Peerage of Science initiative operates upstream from the publication system and provides support to existing scientific journals. It is not, therefore, intended to replace the current system. The goal is to submit an article actively to obtain constructive criticism before submitting it (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 organization, and universities.” Again, this is a very different model from the “Peer Community in” project.

Episcience has the objective of favoring the emergence of “epijournals”, electronic open-access journals containing items deposited in open archives, such as arXiv, and not published elsewhere. Our project is not intended to create a magazine. It is instead a system of recognizing remarkable articles by awarding them a recommendation, and this recommending process is possible for both articles that have already been published and for articles deposited in open archives.

eLife is a journal publishing original articles with publication fees. "“A fee of $2,500 is collected for published papers” (https://submit.elifesciences.org/html/elifeauthorinstructions.html#fees)."

PeerJ. Authors have to pay to publish in PeerJ. Either they pay $1,095 to publish a paper or each author pay once $399 (or more) and then each author can publish 1 (or more) paper/year in the journal (https://peerj.com/pricing/#apc-membership-pricing).

How can I start a new Peer Community in X?

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 an article, a preprint 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 a preprint, 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.

Who is at the origin of the project?

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.


 

FUNCTIONING OF PEER COMMUNITY IN PALEONTOLOGY

What do I have to do as a recommender of Peer Community in Paleontology?

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 a preprint 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 a preprint, he/she is expected to write a short recommendation text explaining why the preprint is particularly interesting for the community.

How can I become a new recommender of Peer Community in Paleontology?

New recommenders are nominated by current recommenders and approved by the Managing Board. If you are interested in becoming a recommender, please contact a current recommender in your field.

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.

Why would scientists care about a Peer Community in Paleontology recommendation?

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.


 

PEER COMMUNITY IN PALEONTOLOGY STRUCTURE

What is the desirable/expected size of Peer Community in Paleontology?

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.

What does the Managing Board do?

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.

Who are the members of the Managing Board?

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.

What is the economic model of Peer Community in Paleontology?

  • Peer Community in Paleontology is dependent on the "Peer Community in" non-profit organization (see https://peercommunityin.org).
  • Preprint authors do not have to pay to have their articles evaluated or recommended by Peer Community in Paleontology.
  • Readers do not have to pay for access to recommendations, peer reviews and editorial correspondence published by Peer Community in Paleontology.
  • Reviewers and recommenders are not paid for their work for Peer Community in Paleontology (just like the reviewers and associate editors of journals published by for-profit companies).
  • The founders and members of the Managing Board of are not paid by Peer Community in Paleontology.
  • The scientific and administrative work underlying the functioning of Peer Community in Paleontology corresponds to approximately 1/4 full time position.
  • The maintenance of the web site and the management of Peer Community in Paleontology e-mail addresses corresponds to approximately 0.1 full time positions.
  • The people currently performing these tasks are employed by a non-profit foundation (Jurassica Museum, Porrentruy, Switzerland) and a public museum (Muséum national d'histoire naturelle, Paris, France).

No, they are not.

Can recommenders of Peer Community in Paleontology be excluded if they do not do their job correctly?

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.

Are the Peer Community in Paleontology data archived?

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.


 

SELECTION OF ARTICLES

What types of articles can be recommended?

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 preprints must be deposited in an open online archive and have a DOI.

Should submitted preprints be formatted in a specific way?

No specific formatting is required before submitting a preprint to Peer Community in Paleontology. That being said, we strongly encourage authors, for their own benefit, to show good sense when formatting their preprint in order to improve readability. Peer Community in Paleontology does not provide any editing, formatting or proofing services. When the revised version of a preprint is accepted and recommended, we only ask the authors to add a cover page to their preprint and a sentence in the abstract stating that the preprint has been peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Paleontology (including the DOI of the recommendation on our website).

Are all submitted preprints recommended?

No. First, not all submitted preprints are considered for evaluation. Recommenders select submissions they find interesting for the community, then initiate the evaluation process. Second, not all evaluated preprints are recommended after the peer-review process. The aim of Peer Community in Paleontology is to publicly highlight and recommend preprints that deserve to be considered as finalized scientific articles of high quality.

How can I submit my preprint to Peer Community in Paleontology?

You must first deposit your preprint in an open archive, such as bioRxiv, PaleorXiv, and PeerJ Preprints, and ensure that the preprint 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 preprint, he/she may initiate the evaluation process.

Will some preprints be left unevaluated?

Yes, probably. Authors are free to submit their preprint to Peer Community in Paleontology. But depending on the size of Peer Community in Paleontology, and the number of preprints awaiting evaluation, and their quality, a fraction of those preprints may not be considered.

Can a preprint be simultaneously submitted to Peer Community in Paleontology and a traditional journal?

The processes of publication in a traditional journal and recommendation by %(longname)s are not exclusive: a preprint 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, preprints submitted to %(longname)s must not be published or submitted for publication elsewhere until the %(longname)s evaluation process has been completed. The preprint must, therefore, have been rejected or recommended by %(longname)s before it can be submitted to a journal.
No, parallel submission is not possible because:
- Parallel reviewing might decrease the importance of the PCI review in the authors’ eyes. If a paper is accepted for publication in a journal before recommendation by %(longname)s, the authors may decide not to make the modifications requested by the PCI reviewers. This might also decrease the willingness of researchers to act as recommenders and reviewers for %(longname)s.
- Recommenders and reviewers may consider it a waste of time recommending or reviewing preprints that have already been submitted to a journal. Recommenders are likely to prefer to wait for publication of the article before its recommendation for %(longname)s (without the need for further review).
- A growing number of journals are accepting %(longname)s evaluations as part of their own editorial process.
- Sequential evaluation (%(longname)s first and then submission to a journal) is more likely to result in scientific improvement of the paper.

Are comments/reviews for rejected papers publicly available?

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 promotion of new and unpublished preprints. 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 are recommended by a recommender and a co-recommender, without second peer-review.


 

ARTICLE RECOMMENDATION PROCESS

How does the recommendation process work?

Recommenders of Peer Community in Paleontology are alerted when a preprint is submitted for recommendation. If one of them finds the preprint 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 preprint 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 preprint to the open archive after each revision. Eventually, the handling recommender decides either to reject or accept the revised preprint for recommendation. If the preprint 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). The authors are asked to upload a new version of their preprint to the open archive with a Peer Community in Paleontology cover page and a modified abstract containing a link to the recommendation and its DOI. The preprint 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.

Who is responsible for recommending the articles?

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.

What is the format of the recommendations?

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.


 

TRANSPARENCY AND ETHICS

How is it possible to guarantee freedom from bias, cronyism, retaliation or flattery?

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.

What part of the recommending process is made public?

All information leading to the recommendation of a preprint 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 preprint are deposited in open archives. Only the name of the reviewers may be withheld at their discretion.

Are negative comments/reviews publicly available?

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 preprint is finally recommended.

What happens if my preprint is rejected by Peer Community in Paleontology?

If a preprint 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.

Can non-recommenders submit a preprint to Peer Community in Paleontology?

Yes, any authors, belonging or not to Peer Community in Paleontology, can submit their preprint to Peer Community in Paleontology.


 

FATE AND CITATIONS OF RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

How should you cite a recommendation?

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 a preprint is recommended by PCI Paleo, you can cite it as follows, by indicating which version of the preprint has been peer-reviewed and recommended:

  • Louis G., Durant C. & Jones O. (2016). A new trilobite fauna from the Early Cambrian of northern Canada. bioRxiv, 038125, ver. 3 peer-reviewed by PCI Paleo. doi: 10.1101/038125

Peer Community in Paleontology does not provide any editing, formatting or proofing services. We encourage authors to format their preprint in a simple way in order to improve readability, for their own benefit and that of the readers. When a preprint is recommended by Peer Community in Paleontology, we only ask the authors to add a cover page to their preprint and a sentence in the abstract stating that the preprint has been peer-reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Paleontology (including the DOI of the recommendation on PCI Paleo).

Yes, recommended preprints are indexed. Google Scholar indexes all sort of documents (articles, books, reports, etc.), including preprints 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. An author’s profile in Google Scholar would therefore take into account recommended articles and recommendations.

Would scientific journals accept articles with a Peer Community in Paleontology recommendation that have not been published in traditional journals as valid citable references?

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, Peer Community in Paleontology recommended preprints have been peer-reviewed, we see no reason why traditional journals would refuse to consider them valid.

Do scientific journals accept submission of preprint deposited in open archives?

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.

A preprint reviewed and recommended by Peer Community in Paleontology remains a preprint, but with a seal of guaranteed quality. It is not a published paper by the definition of traditional academic publishers. Thus there is no reason that would discourage a journal to accept submission of recommended preprints, quite the opposite.

The recommendation refers only to the version of the preprint that has been recommended by Peer Community in Paleontology.


 

COMMENTING ON ARTICLE RECOMMENDATIONS

Can I comment on recommendations and on the corresponding articles?

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.

Can I reply to a comment on recommendations?

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.

What if I disagree with a recommendation?

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.