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Peer Community In: A free alternative to evaluate, validate (and publish?) preprints

Par Thomas Guillemaud et Denis Bourguet (INRAE et Peer Community In)

The Peer Community in (PCI, project offers an alternative to the current system of publication - which is particularly expensive and not transparent. PCI is a non-profit scientific organization building communities of researchers handling the evaluation (through peer-review) and recommendation of preprints in their scientific field. Each PCI is a group of several hundred recommenders playing the role of editors who recommend preprints based on peer-reviews to make them complete, reliable and citable articles, without the need for publication in ‘traditional’ journals (although the authors can submit their recommended preprints afterwards). Evaluations and recommendations by a PCI are free of charge. When a recommender decides to recommend a preprint, they write a recommendation text that is published along with all the editorial correspondence (reviews, recommender's decisions, authors’ replies) on the PCI website. The preprint itself is not published by PCI: it remains on the preprint server where it has been posted by the authors and can therefore be submitted to a journal or published in the all new "Peer Community Journal", an open access diamond journal launched this fall. The first Peer Community In was started in 2017: Peer Community in Evolutionary Biology (PCI Evol Biol) and there are now 14 functioning PCIs, including PCI Infections, PCI Ecology and PCI Zoology. More than 1200 scientists from around the world have already joined as PCI recommanders. The PCI initiative won the 2020 LIBER award for library innovation of the European League of Research Libraries.

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