PCI Paleo peer-reviews and recommends preprints, as complete, high quality and citable articles, without the need for their publication in traditional journals. This process is entirely free of charge for authors and readers.
Subsequent submission of recommended preprints to conventional journals is always an option. In such case, we strongly encourage portable peer-review (i.e., transmitting peer-review reports and PCI Paleo recommendation) to expedite the evaluation process at the journal. Submission to a conventional journal can only occur after the evaluation process at PCI Paleo has been completed (i.e., paper either recommended or rejected).
- PCI Paleo only considers finalized articles. Drafts or incomplete articles will be rejected without peer-review.
- PCI Paleo primarily considers original research articles. Review papers will be considered when they provide new insights into a subject and contain at least some original data.
- Prior to submission, articles must be deposited in an open preprint server, such as bioRxiv, PaleorXiv, or PeerJ Preprints, and be assigned a DOI.
- PCI Paleo welcomes submissions from all domains of paleontology (see our thematics here).
- Simultaneous submission to PCI Paleo and to a conventional journal (or to any other service of peer-review) is not permitted.
- PCI Paleo is under no obligation to consider all submissions, although all possible efforts will be made to do so. If after 20 days no recommender has initiated the evaluation process of a submitted preprint, the authors will be invited to cancel their submission and will be free to send their manuscript elsewhere.
- PCI Paleo recommends a specific version of each preprint (usually the last one). The recommended version is clearly indicated in the recommendation. PCI Paleo is not responsible in case subsequent modifications are made by the authors.
- PCI Paleo reserves the right to retract recommendations for articles which are found to be fraudulent (plagiarism, data manipulation, conflict of interest, etc.) or in serious breach of one of our policies.
- PCI Paleo evaluates the scientific quality and robustness of submitted articles, not their perceived impact or novelty. Articles of poor scientific quality will not be recommended.
- Submissions should represent coherent units of publication.
- Research questions should be clearly defined.
- Methods should be described in detail to allow replication (see below).
- Original data must be made available (see below).
- Conclusions and interpretations should be clearly stated and supported by the results.
Style and format
- Submissions are not copyedited. Authors are responsible to ensure that their submission is free of spelling, grammatical and typographical errors.
- Submissions must be written in clear, unambiguous English. Poorly written submissions will be returned to the authors.
- Authors should follow established norms of academic writing within their field.
- Authors are free to format their submission the way they prefer. However, they are strongly encouraged to consider readability (a format approaching that of published articles significantly improves readability). As guidance, basic preprint templates (one or two columns) are provided here. LaTeX templates for bioRxiv, PaleorXiv, PeerJ Preprints, and many other styles are also available on Overleaf.
- To facilitate comments and peer-review, we encourage authors to include line numbers in their submission, at least during the peer review process. Line numbers may be removed in the final recommended version.
- All figures and tables must be cited in the text and numbered by their order of appearance.
- For each figure or table, provide a title and a legend (optional, but strongly recommended).
- It is recommended to include figures and tables in the text, notably for the final version (in order to improve the reader’s experience).
- An official PCI Paleo cover page containing a link to the recommendation and peer-review reports will be issued upon acceptance and must be included in the recommended/accepted version of the preprint.
As a guidance, the submissions should usually include the following sections:
- Indicate full name and affiliation for each author. Provide email at least for the corresponding author (as well as the first author if different).
- Authors are invited to indicate their ORCID.
- Following the guidelines established by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), to qualify as an author one should have: (1) made substantial contributions to the conception and design of the work, or the acquisition, analysis, or interpretation of data; (2) been involved in drafting the manuscript or revising it critically for important intellectual content; (3) given final approval of the final version of the work; and (4) agreed to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved.
- Should be concise (max. 500 words) and present the main findings of the study.
- Structured abstracts (e.g., Background, Methods, Results, Discussion) are welcome.
Material and methods
- Details of experimental procedures and quantitative analyses must be made fully available to readers, either in the preprint or as Supplementary Information.
- For specimen-based studies, provide complete repository information and list institutional abbreviations in a dedicated subsection (if applicable). Specimens on which conclusions are based must be deposited in an accessible and permanent repository.
- Conclusions must be clearly stated and supported by the data.
- Interpretations are possible, but must be clearly identified as such.
- Sources of funding must be listed in a separate funding section.
- Authors should declare any potential personal or financial conflict of interest.
- In absence of competing interests, the authors should still add the following sentence in the “Competing interests” section: “The authors declare they have no personal or financial conflict of interest relating to the content of this preprint.”
- Author contributions should be clearly stated.
- As guidance, authors can use the CRediT Taxonomy to describe each author’s individual contributions: Conceptualization; Data curation; Formal analysis; Funding acquisition; Investigation; Methodology; Project administration; Resources; Software; Supervision; Validation; Visualization; Writing – original draft; Writing – review and editing.
- Original data and datasets that are relevant to the study’s findings must be made available to readers.
- For digital morphological data, authors should refer to best practices described by Davies et al. (2017) in the paper “Open data and digital morphology” (DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2017.0194). In case of 3D data, final reconstructed/segmented 3D models used in the study must be made available in standard format (e.g., STL, PLY, or OBJ). Ideally, raw CT slices should also be made available to other scientists (at least for the anatomical region analyzed in the paper). However, because of institutional archiving regulations or ongoing research projects, it may be acceptable that access to raw data be postponed/embargoed for a limited time, or granted on request.
- The Data Availability section must clearly indicate where and how data can be accessed.
- Data should be either provided as Supplementary Information, deposited in open repositories (such as Dryad, OSF, Figshare, Morphobank, Morphosource, Github, MorphoMuseuM, Phenome10k, etc.), or hosted by institutional repositories and accessible at least upon request.
- As much as possible, data should be provided in machine-readable formats. Avoid PDFs, except for textual supplementary information.
- If applicable, list the documents attached to the paper as Supplementary Information.
- These documents must be made available to readers as supplementary material and uploaded to the preprint server or to an open online repository (see above).
- Authors are free to use their preferred reference style, as long as usual bibliographic information is provided (e.g., Authors, Year, Title, Editor/Journal, Volume, Pages/DOI) and style is consistent.
- Author-year or numerical citation schemes can be used.
- All references cited in the text must be included in the reference section and listed either in alphabetical order (author-year format) or by order of appearance (numerical format).
- Authors are encouraged to cite the original research reporting new data and discoveries as the primary source of information, not just only review articles (see more here).
Since January 2012, both the International Code of Nomenclature for algae, fungi, and plants (ICN, Melbourne Code) and the International Code of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) regulate the electronic publication of new biological names and nomenclatural acts. For a new name or nomenclatural act published electronically to be considered available, these two codes notably request that the work is published in PDF format in a publication with an ISSN or an ISBN, and that the content of the work is immutable after it is first issued. Preprints, as versioned pieces of work usually published on servers lacking an ISSN or an ISBN, do not conform to these requirements for the moment. Both the ICN and ICZN also consider preprints as preliminary versions and do not regard them as published works for nomenclatural purposes.
Therefore, for the time being, new names and nomenclatural acts contained in preprints (peer-reviewed or not) are not considered as available by the ICN and ICZN. To become available such works will have to be published in a traditional journal after their evaluation by PCI Paleo.
In order to avoid any ambiguity, we recommend that new biological names are edited out prior to submission of the preprint.