2. General description
PCI Genomics reviews and recommends unpublished articles, as complete, reliable and citable articles, without the need for their publication in ‘traditional’ journals. PCI Genomics also reviews and recommends preregistrations of studies. Evaluation and recommendation by PCI Genomics are free of charge.
The processes of publication in a traditional journal and recommendation by PCI Genomics are not exclusive: an unpublished article can be submitted to a journal after its evaluation by PCI Genomics. However, simultaneous submission to a journal and to PCI Genomics is not permitted. Indeed, preprints submitted to PCI Genomics must not be published or submitted for publication elsewhere until the PCI Genomics evaluation process has been completed. The article must, therefore, have been rejected or recommended by PCI Genomics before it can be submitted to a journal.
3. The evaluation & recommendation process
The process of preprint evaluation by PCI Genomics is very similar to the process of article evaluation in ‘traditional’ journals. Just like journal editors, the recommenders appointed by PCI Genomics handle preprints: they are responsible for finding reviewers, collecting reviews, and making editorial decisions based on reviews. They may eventually recommend articles after one or several rounds of review. Preregistration recommendation works in a similar way, with one recommender appointed to handle the preregistration and a few reviewers to judge the value of the proposed study.
When recommenders decide to recommend a preprint, they write a recommendation. This recommendation is essentially a short article, similar to a News & Views piece, describing the context of the study and explaining why this article is particularly interesting. This recommendation and all the editorial correspondence (reviews, recommender's decisions, authors’ replies) associated with the recommended article are published by PCI Genomics. The article itself remains in the open archive and is not published by PCI Genomics. In the case of preregistration recommendations, the recommender also writes a short recommendation summarizing the strengths of the proposed studies and the recommendation is associated with the reviews and correspondence with the authors.
The recommendation by PCI Genomics increases the value of the recommended article. Recommended articles can be used by scientists and cited in the scientific literature. There is no need for these recommended articles to be published in traditional journals (although they can be, according to the authors’ preferences). Recommendation of a preregistration can pave the way for recommendation of the article describing the results of the study, once it is written. Essentially, sticking to the preregistration plan streamlines the process of recommending the article.
As PCI Genomics does not copy-edit articles, authors should pay careful attention to typographical and other errors. A recommended article should be as close to perfect as possible in form because it is a finished article. The presence of all tables and figures, additional materials and accessibility of the data must be checked.
PCI Genomics publishes the recommendations written by recommenders, but we do not host or format neither the articles nor the preregistrations we recommend. Instead, we simply link the recommendation to articles posted in open archives, such as bioRxiv1 or arXiv, or to preregistrations hosted on appropriate platforms (GitHub, etc.). The costs of the process of evaluation and recommendation and of hosting the website are very low. As a result, there are no charges for authors (or for readers, because the recommended articles can be downloaded, for free, from preprint servers).
Some institutions require authors to deposit their Author Accepted Manuscript (AAM) on institutional repositories. This is the case, for example, for Oxford University or the CNRS, which have open-access policies requiring researchers to deposit their accepted manuscripts in the Oxford University Research Archive (ORA) and HAL, respectively. In such cases, we advise authors to deposit the version of the preprint recommended by PCI in the institutional repository.
4. What does PCI do?
4.1 At submission, PCI
- Considers all types of articles (experimental work, theory, review, opinion, etc.)
- Does not impose any format or restrictions in terms of article length, number of figures or tables
- Considers anonymous submissions
- Welcomes reproductions of studies
- Welcomes preregistration submissions and preprint submissions based on preregistrations (with or without prior review)
- Welcomes preprints reporting negative results, provided that the questions addressed and the methodology are sound
- Checks articles for plagiarism with IThenticate
- Checks articles for the absence of conflict of interest
- Makes sure that raw data, codes and scripts are available
- Checks that the article is readable (figures)
- Checks the compliance of the article with ethical standards
- Helps authors to suggest appropriate recommenders to handle their article
- Informs authors within 20 days if no recommender can be found to handle the article
4.2 During evaluation, PCI
- Evaluates only articles considered interesting by at least one of the many recommenders
- Provides explicit guideline for the recommender handling the preprints (https://peercommunityin.org/2020/10/28/pci-recommender-guide/)
- Organizes rigorous peer review (https://peercommunityin.org/2020/10/22/pci-reviewer-guide/) for selected articles
- Tries to keep delays as short as possible by sending reminders to reviewers and recommenders to ensure that the necessary tasks are completed promptly
- Provides technical assistance to authors, recommenders and reviewers
- Allows authors to follow the evaluation process of their article online
- Makes sure that recommenders obtain at least two reliable review reports before making editiorial decisions on the original version of the article
- Makes sure that recommenders make an editorial decision that is reliable and respectful to the authors
4.3 At the revision stage, PCI
- Communicates regularly with the authors to ensure that the revision process is performed correctly and in a timely manner for the preprint concerned.
- Allows the authors as much time as they need to revise their article
4.4 In case of recommendation, PCI
- Publishes an open-access citable recommendation with a DOI relating to the entire editorial process (reviews, editorial decisions, author's replies)
- Provides authors with a template for formatting the recommended version of their article
- Creates OpenCitations and machine-readable metadata for recommendations
- Provides authors with transferable reviews if the article is not recommended
4.5 After recommendation, PCI
- Does not require any transfer of copyright
- Allows authors the choice as to whether to submit the recommended preprint to a journal
- Provides authors with suggestions as to how to submit their recommended article to a journal if they wish to do so
- Archives the editorial process (including recommendations) in CLOCKSS
- Archives the editorial process (including recommendations) in HAL
- Promotes the recommended article and the recommendation on social media (Twitter, Facebook, Instagram)
- Indexes the editorial process (including recommendations) in Europe PMC, bioRxiv, sciety, Google Scholar
- Displays the Altmetrics data of the article and the recommendation
- Displays the link to the article with the recommendation