About PCI Network Science

What is PCI Network Science​?

PCI Network Science has been launched in October 2020. It is an interdisciplinary community of several researchers (called the recommenders and playing the role of associate editors) who peer-review and recommend your unpublished preprints to make them complete, reliable and citable articles. The scope of PCI Network Science encompasses all aspects of network science, theoretical as well as applied approaches: social networks, technological networks, historical networks, ecological networks, biological networks, animal networks, … PCI Network Science  considers both quantitative and qualitative methods as long as they are related to complex network analysis.
 
Evaluation and recommendation by PCI Network Science are free of charge. When recommenders decide to recommend an article, they write a recommendation text that is published along with all the editorial correspondence (reviews, recommender's decisions, authors’ replies) by PCI Network Science. The article itself is not published by PCI Network Science; it remains on the preprint server where it was posted by the authors. PCI Network Science recommenders can also recommend postprints, but this is done to a lesser extent.

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

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  • PCI Network Science is transparent: reviews and recommendations (for unpublished articles) and recommendations (for published articles) are freely available for consultation.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


Managing board of PCI Network Science​

Eleni Akrida (Durham University, UK)
Corinne Bonnet (Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France)
Alecia Carter (CNRS, Université de Montpellier, France; University College London, UK)
Michel Grossetti (CNRS, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France)
Norbert Hounkonnou (University of Abomey-Calavi, Benin)
Pablo Jensen (CNRS, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Lyon, France)
Bertrand Jouve (CNRS, Université Toulouse Jean Jaurès, France)
Matthieu Latapy (CNRS, Sorbonne Université, France)
Brenda McCowan (University of California, Davis, USA)
Elisa Omodei (UN World Food Programme, Roma, Italy)
Cédric Sueur (Université de Strasbourg, France)
 
To contact the Managing Board please send a message to contact@networksci.peercommunityin.org

Editorial policy​

Scope​​​

No one can deny that we now live in a world whose interconnectedness has increased over time. The analysis of these networks and their complexity has thus become an important issue in understanding the world. In this context, research on complex networks, such as promoted by PCI Network Science, is becoming more important than ever. Understanding the complex networks that exist or that we are building, the local/global and multiscale interactions, requires both a multidisciplinary approach to share tools, methods and concepts, and interdisciplinary approaches that achieve innovative scientific integration. PCI Network Science covers both theoretical and applied research related to complex networks: social networks, technological networks, historical networks, ecological networks, biological networks, animal networks, … PCI Network Science considers both quantitative and qualitative methods as long as they are related to network analysis.

The preprints submitted to PCI Network Science may describe empirical or theoretical studies, and be based on observations from experiments or nature, or previously acquired data. They may also report the results of verbal, computer or mathematical models. Studies of methodologies are also appreciated. Perspectives, reviews and opinions and comments on previously published articles are also welcome.   

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

  • 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 Network Science 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 Network Science has a large number of recommenders, ensuring a considerable diversity of interests. The recommendations published by PCI Network Science 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:

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)​​​​