What is PCI Microbiol?
PCI Microbiol is a community of the parent project Peer Community In, an original idea of Denis Bourguet, Benoit Facon and Thomas Guillemaud.
PCI Microbiol is not designed to be a free peer reviewing service for authors aiming to improve their articles before submission to a journal, although, of course, it remains possible to submit a recommended preprint to a traditional journal.
- PCI Microbiol is stimulating: it recommends remarkable articles.
- PCI Microbiol 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- PCI Microbiol is transparent: reviews and recommendations (for unpublished articles) and recommendations (for published articles) are freely available for consultation.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 Microbiol 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 Microbiol).
Managing board of PCI Microbiol
Cédric Hubas (MNHN, Paris, France)
Roey Angel (Biology Centre CAS, Budweis, Czech Republic)
Craig W. Herbold (University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)
Marcela Hernandez (University of East Anglia, Norwich, UK)
Melina Kerou (University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)
Katharina Kitzinger (University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)
David K. Ngugi (Leipniz Institute DSMZ, Braunschweig, Germany)
Hannes Schmidt (University of Vienna, Vienna, Austria)
PCI Microbiol will evaluate preprints, and to a lesser extent postprints, dealing with all fields of microbiology and in particular with these subjects: Antimicrobials and antibiotic resistance, Biofilms and microbial mats, Bioinformatics dedicated to microbial studies, Biology of understudied microbes (viruses, archaea, ...), Genomic & evolutionary studies, Mathematical modeling of microbioal processes and ecosystems, Microbiomes, Microbial biogeochemistry, Microbial biotechnology, Microbial chemical ecology, Microbial communication and signaling, Microbial ecology and environmental microbiology, Microbe-microbe and microbe-host interactions, Microbial symbiosis, Microbial (eco)physiology and metabolism, Microbial extremophiles and Microbial biogeography.
PCI Microbiol recommends only preprints of high scientific quality that are methodologically and ethically sound. To this end, PCI Microbiol:
- Requires data, computer codes and mathematical and statistical analysis scripts to be made available to reviewers and recommenders at the time of submission and to readers after recommendation.
- Welcomes reproductions of studies.
- Welcomes preprint submissions based on preregistrations (whether or not reviewed).
- Welcomes preprints reporting negative results, provided that the questions addressed and the methodology are sound.
- Does not accept submissions of preprints presenting financial conflicts of interest. Other conflicts of interest must be minimal and declared.
- Ensures that, as far as possible, the recommenders and referees have no conflict of interest with the content or authors of the study being evaluated.
PCI Microbiol does not guarantee the evaluation or recommendation of all submitted preprints. Only preprints considered interesting by at least one competent recommender (equivalent to an associate editor in a classical journal) will be peer reviewed. The interest of the preprint, as determined by the recommender, can relate to its context, the scientific question addressed, the methodology, or the results. PCI Microbiol has a large number of recommenders, ensuring a considerable diversity of interests. The recommendations published by PCI Microbiol are designed to draw the attention of the research community to the qualities of the article, including the subjective reasons for the recommender’s interest in it.
Type of articles
The articles recommended may be of different types: reviews, comments, opinion papers, research articles, data papers, technical notes, computer notes, etc. Preregistrations should be submitted to PCI Registered Reports.
Repeatability of science and open science
PCI wants to promote scientific repeatability and reliability to improve the overall robustness and integrity of our scientific conclusions. To this aim, PCI has set up three mandatory rules and makes two suggestions to authors:
Articles recommended by PCI must provide the readers with:
- Raw data, made available directly in the text or through an open data repository, such as Zenodo, Dryad or some other institutional repository (see Directory of Open Access Repositories) with a DOI. Data must be reusable, and the metadata and accompanying text must, therefore, 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 or through an open data repository, such as Zenodo, Dryad or some other institutional repository (see Directory of Open Access Repositories) with a DOI. The scripts or codes must be carefully described such that another researcher can run them.
- Details on experimental procedures must be given in the text.
Suggestions to authors:
- PCI encourages authors to submit preprints based on 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 of clarifying their hypotheses, avoiding confusing “postdictions” and predictions, and carefully planning appropriate statistical treatment of the data (e.g. see 10.1073/pnas.1708274114).
- Preregistrations should be submitted to PCI Registered Reports
- PCI welcomes submissions proposing replication studies. All submissions are assessed according to the same criteria, provided that the article is considered interesting by the recommender handling it and the research question is judged to be scientifically valid.
Request for acknowledgement
In recognition of the work done by the recommenders and reviewers of PCI In Microbiology, authors who have chosen to submit their recommended pre-print to any journal other than PCIs Peer Community Journal are asked to add the following sentence in the acknowledgements section of their manuscript:
“We thank PCI Microbiology, a community of researchers acting as associate editors, for taking on the peer review and recommendation (doi.link to recommendation letter) of our preprint (doi.link to final pre-print).”
Peer Community In is a member of and subscribes to the principles of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). In addition:
- Financial conflicts of interest are forbidden, see the PCI code of conduct.
- Authors should declare any potential non-financial conflict of interest.
Inclusiveness and equity
PCI is attentive to equity and inclusion at all steps of the process of scientific article evaluation. PCI focuses on bringing more people underrepresented in academia among authors submitting to PCI, and reviewers, recommenders and managing board members working for PCI. Underrepresentation is hereby linked to many factors including career stage, gender and geography.
Specific recommendations are made to reviewers, recommenders and managing board members to increase equity and inclusiveness in each of their tasks.
Tools to increase equity and inclusiveness:
- Possibility to submit articles anonymously
- Transparency in the evaluation of articles
- Managing Board members take into account underrepresentation in academia when appointing new recommenders
- Template messages to recommenders and reviewers include recommendations about equity and inclusiveness
- Possibility to review anonymously
PCI is signatory of the Joint Statement of Principles of the Coalition for Diversity and Inclusion in Scholarly Communication (C4DISC)