Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology (PCI Evol Biol) has been launched in January 2017. It is a community of 400 recommenders playing the role of editors who recommend unpublished articles based on peer-reviews to make them complete, reliable and citable articles, without the need for publication in ‘traditional’ journals. Evaluation and recommendation by PCI Evol Biol are free of charge. When a recommender decides to recommend an article, he/she writes a recommendation text that is published along with all the editorial correspondence (reviews, recommender's decisions, authors’ replies) by PCI Evol Biol. The article itself is not published by PCI Evol Biol; it remains in the preprint server where it has been posted by the authors. PCI Evol Biol recommenders can also recommend, but to a lesser extent, postprints.
PCI Evol Biol is the first community of the parent project Peer Community In, an original idea of Denis Bourguet, Benoit Facon and Thomas Guillemaud.
PCI Evol Biol is not designed to be a free peer-reviewing service for authors aiming to improve their articles before submission to a journal. It is, of course, possible, for authors to then submit their recommended article to a traditional journal, but this is not the goal of PCI Evol Biol.
PCI Evol Biol is stimulating: it recommends remarkable articles.
PCI Evol Biol is free: there are no fees associated with the evaluation process, and no charge for access to the comments and recommendations. The website is freely accessible.
PCI Evol Biol is transparent: Reviews and recommendations (for unpublished articles) and recommendations (for published articles) are freely available for consultation. Recommendations are signed by the recommenders. Reviews may also be signed if the reviewers agree to do so.
PCI Evol Biol is not exclusive: An article 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 a traditional journal (although this is not the goal of PCI Evol Biol).
Why submit your preprint to PCI Evol Biol?
Which manuscripts can be recommended?
PCI Evol Biol will evaluate preprints, and to a lesser extent articles published in journals, dealing with all fields of Evolutionary Biology. The articles recommended may have diverse formats: reviews, comments, opinion papers, research articles, data papers, technical notes, computer notes, movies, etc. No editing, formatting or proofing of the recommended papers is required. We only ask the authors of recommended articles to add a cover page to their article and a sentence at the beginning of the abstract stating that their article has been recommended by PCI Evol Biol.
PCI Evol Biol welcomes anonymous submissions (see details).
Peer Community In promotes the repeatability of science
PCI wants to promote scientific repeatability to improve the overall robustness and integrity of our scientific conclusions. To this aim, PCI has set up 3 mandatory rules and made 2 suggestions to authors:
Articles recommended by PCI must provide the readers:
-Raw data by making them available either in the text or through an open data repository such as Zenodo, Dryad or some other institutional repositories (see Directory of Open Access Repositories). Data must be reusable, thus metadata and accompanying text must carefully describe the data.
-Details on the quantitative analyses (e.g., data treatment and statistical scripts in R, bioinformatic pipeline scripts, etc.) and details concerning simulations (scripts, codes) in the text, as appendices, or through an open data repository, such as Zenodo, Dryad or some other institutional repositories (see Directory of Open Access Repositories). The scripts or codes must be carefully described such that another researcher can run them.
-Details on experimental procedures. These details must be given in the text or as appendices at the end of the article.
Suggestions to authors:
-PCI encourages authors to use preregistrations: Authors may post their research questions and analysis plan to an independent registry before observing the research outcomes, and thus before writing and submitting their article. This provides a way for them to clarify their hypotheses, avoid confusing “postdictions” and predictions, and carefully plan appropriate statistical treatment of the data (eg see 10.1073/pnas.1708274114).
-PCI also welcomes submissions of preregistrations. Authors can submit their preregistrations to a PCI before beginning their study, and thus before acquiring the data. Preregistrations are then evaluated by recommenders based on independent reviews, in exactly the same way as preprint articles. Preregistrations can thus be rejected or undergo revisions, improving the quality and robustness of the experimental design. When a preregistration is accepted, the subsequent article submitted to the corresponding PCI would be recommended provided the study has been conducted as described in the preregistration (or with any modifications clearly justified). In this way, an article cannot be rejected due to the outcome of the study only. Details on preregistration submissions can be found for example here.
Managing board of PCI Evol Biol
Guillaume Achaz (Paris, MNHN, ISyEB, France) Juan Arroyo (Seville, University of Seville, Spain) Denis Bourguet (Montpellier, CBGP, France) Marianne Elias (Paris, MNHN, ISEB, France) Benoit Facon (La Réunion, PVBMT, France) Tatiana Giraud (Orsay, ESE, France) Thomas Guillemaud (Sophia Antipolis, ISA, France) Ruth Hufbauer (Fort Collins, Colorado S. Univ., USA) Gergely J Szollosi (Budapest, Eötvös University, Hungary)
Recommenders manage the evaluation of preprints (and, to a lesser extent, published articles), which they may choose to recommend. Recommenders have a role similar to that of a journal editor (finding reviewers, collecting reviews, and taking an editorial decision based on reviews), and they may eventually recommend the article after several rounds of reviews. If they decide to recommend an article, they write a “recommendation” that has its own DOI and is published in the PCI Evol Biol electronic journal.
PCI Evol Biol recommenders can recommend up to five articles per year. They are expected to comply with the code of conduct of PCI Evol Biol, are eligible for selection as a member of the Managing Board for a period of two years, and they can propose the nomination of new recommenders to the Managing Board.
The current list of recommenders can be found here.
New recommenders are nominated by current recommenders, with the approval of the Managing Board. If you are interested in becoming a recommender, please contact a current recommender in your field.