About PCI Neuroscience

What is PCI Neuroscience​?

The recent surge in neuroscience preprints has created an unmet need for the evaluation and scientific validation of these open access articles. Indeed, preprint servers ensure rapid dissemination of scientific content but do so at the cost of imposing very little in the way of quality control. In addition, preprint authors seldom get critical feedback (e.g., only 5% of BioRxiv preprints receive open comments on BioRxiv) and therefore there is also an unmet need to extend the usefulness of preprints. PCI Neuroscience aims to address these needs by bringing together a community of circuit neuroscientists who recommend unpublished preprints based on peer-reviews to make them complete, reliable and citable articles. Our recommendation process is free and transparent, encouraging openness and setting the stage for constructive discussion.

PCI Neuroscience is a community of the parent project Peer Community In, an original idea of Denis Bourguet, Benoit Facon and Thomas Guillemaud.

PCI Neuroscience 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 Neuroscience is stimulating: it recommends remarkable articles.
  • PCI Neuroscience 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  • PCI Neuroscience is transparent: reviews and recommendations (for unpublished articles) and recommendations (for published articles) are freely available for consultation.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 Neuroscience 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 Neuroscience).​


Managing board of PCI Neuroscience​

Mahesh Karnani (CNCR, VU Amsterdam, Netherlands)
Marion Mercier (IoN, UCL, United Kingdom)
Vincent Magloire (IoN, UCL, United Kingdom)
Thibaut Sesia (University Hospital of Cologne, Germany)
Florent Lebon (University of Bourgogne Franche-Comté, Dijon, France)
Ian Greenhouse (University of Oregon, USA)

To contact the Managing Board please send a message to contact@neuro.peercommunityin.org


Editorial policy​

Scope​​​

PCI Neuroscience will evaluate preprints, and to a lesser extent articles published in journals, dealing with Circuit Neuroscience and in particular with these subjects: neuronal circuits, neuronal assemblies, neuronal oscillations, neurophysiology, synaptic physiology, synaptic plasticity, neuronal biophysics, neuroanatomy, neuropharmacology, behavioural neuroscience, systems neuroscience.
 
The articles recommended may have diverse formats: reviews, opinion papers, research articles. No editing, formatting or proofing of the recommended papers is required. 
 

​PCI Neuroscience recommends only preprints of high scientific quality that are methodologically and ethically sound. To this end, PCI Neuroscience: 

  • 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 Neuroscience 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 Neuroscience has a large number of recommenders, ensuring a considerable diversity of interests. The recommendations published by PCI Neuroscience 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. Preregistered studies are welcome in PCI C Neuro, but initially preregistrations should be submitted to PCI Registered Reports. They can then ultimately be recommended by PCI C Neuro.

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:

Mandatory rules:

​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.​​​

Ethics​

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)​​​​