"PEER COMMUNITY IN" PROJECT


FUNCTIONING OF PEER COMMUNITY IN EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY


PEER COMMUNITY IN EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY 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" project is a non-profit scientific organization aimed at creating specific communities of researchers reviewing and recommending prereview (preprint) articles and recommending reviewed (postprint) article in their field. These specific communities are entitled Peer Community in X, e.g. Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology.

What are the key features of this recommendation?

Stimulating: PCI Evol Biol will recommend remarkable articles.

Free: there will be no fees associated with the recommending process, and no charge for access to the comments and recommendations. The website will be freely accessible.

Transparent: Comments (for articles published in traditional journals), reviews and accompanying texts (for articles deposited in open archives) justifying the recommendations are freely available for consultation. Comments and accompanying texts are signed by the recommenders proposing the recommendation of the text. Reviews may be signed if the reviewers agree to do so.

Flexible and simple: The Managing Board does not intervene in the process (i.e. it does not act as an editorial committee), other than to resolve problems between authors and the recommenders recommending their articles and to check the quality of the format and deontology of reviews and recommendation.

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 classical journal.

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. "On January 1, 2017, eLife will introduce a fee for publication. A fee of $2,500* will be collected for all published papers submitted on or after this date" (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 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, this latter must be considered reviewed, i.e. like a published article 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 Denis Bourguet, Benoit Facon and Thomas Guillemaud, working at Inra (French National Institute for Agricultural Research) institute in France.

See also the general FAQs of the “Peer Community in” project for more details.


 

FUNCTIONING OF PEER COMMUNITY IN EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY

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

Becoming a recommender of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology is not associated with a substantial workload. Each recommender is expected to review and recommend 1 or 2 articles per year in average. 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.

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

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.

Each recommender recommend 1 or 2 articles per year in average. Each recommender cannot recommend more than 5 articles per year to reduce the risk that a few recommenders are calling all the shots in the recommendations.

Why would scientists care about a Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology recommendation?

Scientists will care because the recommendation are attributed by a recognized group of colleagues, it is free of charge, and colleagues, employers and funding agencies will probably recognize it as a mark of quality.


 

PEER COMMUNITY IN EVOLUTIONARY BIOLOGY STRUCTURE

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

We expect Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology to gather several hundreds recommenders – i.e. there is no numerus clausus. 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 is the Managing board?

The Managing board of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology is a group of 6 recommenders of this community. They are mainly in charge of approving the nomination of new recommenders of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology. The Managing board also deals with problems arising between authors and recommenders who evaluated and/or recommended articles. It detects and deals with dysfunctions of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology, 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 Evolutionary Biology. Finally, members of the Managing board of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology 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 is in the Managing board?

The Managing board of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology would include 6 persons randomly chosen among the recommenders of this community. Chosen recommenders would be allowed to decline. In such case, another person is chosen at random and so on until 6 members are nominated. Half the Managing board is replaced each year. In addition, the founders of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology are temporarily members of the Managing board during the first 2 years. After two years of existence, the Managing board will only include 6 members.

What are the duties of the Managing board?

The Managing board of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology is mainly in charge of approving the nomination of new recommenders of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology. It also deals with problems arising between authors and recommenders who evaluated and/or recommended articles. The Managing board detects and deals with dysfunctions of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology, and may exclude recommenders of this community, if necessary. It also performs a quality check on the format and the deontology of reviews and recommendations published by Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology. Finally, members of the Managing board of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology 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.

What is the economic model of PCI Evol Biol?

  • PCI Evol Biol is dependent on PCI, a non-profit organization (see https://peercommunityin.org).
  • Preprint authors do not have to pay to have their articles evaluated or recommended by PCI Evol Biol.
  • Readers do not have to pay for access to recommendations, peer reviews and editorial correspondence published by PCI Evol Biol.
  • Reviewers and recommenders are not paid for their work for PCI Evol Biol (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 PCI Evol Biol.
  • The scientific and administrative work underlying the functioning of PCI Evol Biol corresponds to approximately one full time position (compared to the work of an Editor-in-Chief, usually paid by his or her research institution, and possibly the work of both a Managing Editor and an Editorial Assistant of a journal), or two full-time positions if we include the development of the global PCI project.
  • The maintenance of the web site and the management of PCI Evol Biol e-mail addresses corresponds to approximately 0.1 full time positions and 0.5 full time positions if we include the development of the global PCI project.
  • The people currently performing these tasks are employed by a French public research institute (The French National Institute for Agricultural Research, INRA).
  • The annual (non-salary) operating budget of PCI Evol Biol is about €5,000 (equivalent to the costs to authors of publishing two to four open-access articles in major evolutionary biology journals), or €20,000 if we include the development the global PCI project.
  • This budget is currently funded by grants from research institutes (e.g. INRA), research laboratories and societies (e.g. SSE).

How can researchers become new recommenders of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology?

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.

No, they are not.

Can recommenders of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology 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 ethical conduct of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology.

Are the Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology data archived?

Yes. Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology regularly backs up its data in several mirror web sites. Recommendations and peer-reviews are deposited in HAL open archive.


 

SELECTION OF ARTICLES

What formats of articles can be recommended?

Recommended articles may have diverse formats: reviews, comments, opinion articles, research articles, data articles, technical notes, computer notes, movies, etc. No editing, formatting or proofing of the recommended articles is required.

Which articles could be recommended?

All types of articles, whether already published in peer-reviewed scientific journals or deposited in open online archives. However, the recommenders of Peer Communities in Evolutionary Biology would be encouraged to review articles in the following descending order of priority: 1) preprints deposited in open online archives (hence freely accessible) and not yet published in scientific journals (to encourage the expansion of the recommendation process), 2) articles already published in scientific journals but published in open access (and preferably free of charge for authors) and 3) articles published in scientific journals but not in open access.

Are all articles recommended?

Any article can be recommended, provided that a recommender of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology is willing to review and recommend it. However, not all articles are recommended because not all articles achieve the required quality.

How can I propose a preprint for recommendation by Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology?

Authors are invited to use an alert system to inform Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology that they would like their preprint to be considered for recommendation (a dedicated webpage will serve this purpose). This requires that this preprint is not under consideration for publication in a traditional journal. If a recommender of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology is interested by evaluating the preprint he/she contacts the authors to 1) ensure that the preprint is still not under review elsewhere and if so 2) let them know that the preprint, if they agree, will enter in the recommendation process.

Will some articles be left unread?

Yes, probably. Authors are invited to use an alert system to inform Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology that they would like their preprint to be considered for recommendation. But depending on the size of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology and the number of preprints waiting for a recommendation, a fraction of those preprints may not be considered.

What if an author wants to submit his/her preprint article to a journal and a recommender of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology wants to recommend it at the same time?

The processes of publication and recommendation are not exclusive. 1) It is possible to recommend an article that has been published in a journal. 2) It is possible to recommend a preprint even if it is then published in a journal, with the possibility of transferring the recommendation to the published article. However, to avoid a simultaneous review process – i.e. one performed by Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology and one undertaken by a traditional scientific journal – we require the authors soliciting a recommendation to wait the outcome of the recommendation process before submitting their preprint for publication in a traditional journal. This process might be beneficial for the authors. Waiting for the reviews and the recommendation from Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology may increase the value of their preprint. Indeed, if modifications to the preprint are required to obtain the recommendation, these modifications may substantially increase the quality of the preprint before its submission to a traditional journal, thus increasing the likelihood of acceptance. However – and this is one of the ultimate goal of the “Peer Community in” project – authors might be satisfied by having their preprint recommended by Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology and hence do no longer feel the need to submit it in a traditional journal.

Is it possible to recommend old articles, and how old?

Yes, it is possible to recommend old articles. However, Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology is a new system that focuses principally on the promotion of new and unpublished preprint.


 

ARTICLE RECOMMENDATION PROCESS

How would articles be recommended?

  1. For postprint (i.e. articles already reviewed and published in scientific journals): the recommendation, with a comment, provides a link to the DOI of the reviewed article.

  2. For preprint deposited in open online archives: if the article can be recommended as it stands, the recommendation and the associated reviews provide a link to the web address of the preprint (which may be a DOI, as in bioRxiv); if the article deserves to be recommended, but that changes are necessary, the recommender of the community who drives the review process can ask the authors to modify the preprint and to deposit a second (or a third…) version of the preprint. If the new version satisfies the criticisms made, it can then be recommended. The various reviews and the recommendation provide links to the different versions of the preprint.

  3. The recommendation could be indicated by metric tools, such as the Altmetric “research highlight platform” category https://www.altmetric.com.

How can I request a recommendation for my preprint?

You need first to log in to PCI Evol Biol website or sign up if you do not have an account yet. Once logged in, click on the green button "Request a recommendation for your preprint" and follow the procedure.

Who is responsible for recommending the articles?

Any recommender of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology can perform this task.


 

TRANSPARENCY AND ETHICS

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

Bias, cronyism, retaliation or flattery are limited by i) the transparency of the reviews, which are freely available and possibly signed, and ii) the transparency of comments and recommendations, which are freely available and signed. In addition, Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology has established a code of ethical 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 Evolutionary Biology performs a quality check on the deontology of reviews and recommendations.

What part of the recommending process is made public?

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 Evolutionary Biology website, and the consecutive versions of the preprint are deposited in open archives. Only the name of the additional reviewers may be withheld.

Are negative comments/reviews publicly available?

No, only reviews and comments leading to the attribution of the recommendation (positive, but with criticisms and suggestions for improvement) are published. All the comments, suggestions and corrections leading to the recommendation being awarded are made public.

Can non-recommenders of Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology ask recommenders to recommend articles?

Yes, any authors, belonging or not to Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology can alert Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology to recommend their preprint.


 

FATE AND CITATIONS OF RECOMMENDED ARTICLES

How should you cite a recommendation?

Each recommendation (of a preprint or a postprint) by PCI Evol Biol has a DOI and can therefore be cited as follows (in your CV and in manuscripts):

When an article (a preprint or a postprint) is recommended by PCI Evol Biol, you can cite it in your CV and your articles as follows:

In your CV

  • Lucque, G. M., Vayssade, C., Facon, B., Guillemaud, T., Courchamp, F., & Fauvergue, X. (2016). The genetic Allee effect: a unified framework for the genetics and demography of small populations. bioRxiv, 038125. Recommended by Peer Community In Evolutionary Biology. doi: http://dx.doi.org/11.1111/111111

In your manuscripts

In the main text of the manuscript:
" (Lucque et al. 2016, recommended by Ramon 2016) "

In the references of the manuscript:
- Lucque, G. M., Vayssade, C., Facon, B., Guillemaud, T., Courchamp, F., & Fauvergue, X. (2016). The genetic Allee effect: a unified framework for the genetics and demography of small populations. bioRxiv, 038125.
- Ramon, P. (2016). A generalization of the Allee effect. Peer Community In Evolutionary Biology. doi: http://dx.doi.org/11.1111/111111.

No, no editing (formatting) of the articles is carried out and articles are recommended without modification of their format. Unpublished versions of recommended preprint deposited in an open archive are not edited.

Yes, recommended articles (preprints or postprints) will be indexed. Google Scholar and Research Gate index all sort of documents (articles, books, reports, etc.), including preprints deposited in repositories such as arXiv, bioRxiv, 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 or Research Gate would therefore take into account recommended articles, whether those articles were preprints from repositories or articles published in journals. In addition, Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology can have its own metrics (IF, h, altmetrics, etc.).

Would scientific journals accept articles with a Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology recommendation that have not been published in traditional peer-review journals as valid citable references?

Most, if not all journals already accept the citation of articles not published in peer-review journals (e.g. book chapters and reports). Hence, since these preprints would 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 for submission articles that are deposited as preprints in open archives. See http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/index.php.

First, more and more journals accept for submission articles that are deposited as preprints in open archives. See See http://www.sherpa.ac.uk/romeo/index.php.

Second, a preprint reviewed and recommended by PCI Evol Biol is just a preprint with a guaranteed quality. It is not a published paper. Thus there is no reason that would discourage a journal to accept submission of recommended preprints, quite the opposite.

Third, our recommenders’ list contains numerous Associate Editors, Editors and Editors-in-Chief of important evolutionary biology journals.

Fourth, the Editors-in-Chief of Ecology Letters (Tim Coulson), Evolution (Mohamed Noor), Oikos (Dries Bonte), Evolutionary Ecology (John Endler), Evolutionary Applications (Louis Bernatchez), Molecular Ecology (Loren Rieseberg), Journal of Biogeography (Peter Linder) and the expected next Editor-in-Chief of Journal of Evolutionary Biology (Wolf Blanckenhorn) have indicated they will consider submissions of recommended preprints and they may use PCI reviews and recommendations for their own review processes.

There are two possibilities: 1) the recommendation may refer only to the preprint if the published article has been modified and no longer meets the requirements for recommendation; 2) there may be a single recommendation to both articles (preprint and postprint) if there are few differences between them.


 

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. Members of this board can decide to withdraw abusive 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. Members of this board 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. Members of this board can decide to withdraw those comments.