Peer Community in Ecology (PCI Ecology) has been launched in december 2017. It is a community of recommenders playing the role of editors who recommend unpublished preprints based on peer-reviews to make them complete, reliable and citable articles, without the need for publication in ‘traditional’ journals.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 Ecology are free of charge. When a recommender decides to recommend a preprint, he/she writes a recommendation text that is published along with all the editorial correspondence (reviews, recommender's decisions, authors’ replies) by PCI Ecology. The preprint itself is not published by PCI Ecology; it remains in the preprint server where it has been posted by the authors. PCI Ecology recommenders can also recommend, but to a lesser extent, postprints.
PCI Ecology is a community of the parent project Peer Community In, an original idea of Denis Bourguet, Benoit Facon and Thomas Guillemaud.
PCI Ecology 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 preprint to a traditional journal, but this is not the goal of PCI Ecology.
PCI Ecology is stimulating: it recommends remarkable articles.
PCI Ecology 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 Ecology is transparent: Reviews and recommendations (for preprints) and recommendations (for postprints) are freely available for consultation. Recommendations are signed by the recommenders. Reviews may also be signed if the reviewers agree to do so.
PCI Ecology 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 Ecology).
Why submit your preprint to PCI Ecology?
Which manuscripts can be recommended?
PCI Ecology will recommend preprints, and to a lesser extent postrpints, dealing with all fields of ecology. 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 preprints to add a cover page to their preprint and a sentence at the beginning of the abstract stating that their preprint has been recommended by PCI Ecology.
PCI Ecology welcomes anonymous submissions (see details).
PCI Ecology also welcomes submissions of preregistrations (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:
Preprints 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 Ecology
Corina Logan (Leipzig, Max Planck Institute for Evolutionary Anthropology, Germany) Anna Eklof (Linköping, Linköping University, Sweden) Julia Astegiano (Córdoba, IMBIV (CONICET-UNC), Argentina) Ben Phillips (Parkville, Univ. Melbourne, Australia) Cyrille Violle (Montpellier, CEFE CNRS, France) Dominique Gravel (Sherbrooke, Univ. Sherbrooke, Canada) Tim Coulson (Oxford, Univ. Oxford, UK) François Massol (Lille, EEP, Univ. Lille, France)
Recommenders manage the evaluation of preprints (and, to a lesser extent, postprints), 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 preprint after several rounds of reviews. If they decide to recommend a preprint, they write a “recommendation” that has its own DOI and is published in the PCI Ecology electronic journal.
PCI Ecology recommenders can recommend up to five preprints or postprints per year. They are expected to comply with the code of conduct of PCI Ecology, 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.