Frequently Asked Questions

This page addresses FAQs for PCI RR authors and recommenders. General FAQs about the PCI initiative may be found here.


For Authors

1. I plan to publish my recommended Registered Report in a traditional journal. Will submitting to PCI RR be considered prior publication by the journal, thus rendering it ineligible for consideration?

2. At what point in the review workflow do I find out which PCI RR-friendly journals are eligible outlets?

3. Some PCI RR-friendly journals charge a full article processing charge (APC). Can these APCs be reduced or waived given that the review process was managed by PCI RR?

4. If a PCI RR-interested journal (or any other journal) offers further peer review following a positive Stage 2 recommendation from PCI RR, but the journal eventually ends up rejecting my manuscript, can I then still publish my article without further peer review in a PCI RR-friendly journal?

5. Does the guarantee to publish a recommended Stage 2 RR by a PCI RR-friendly journal have a time limit or expiration date?

6. Where a PCI RR-friendly journal provides the opportunity to publish a recommended Stage 1 manuscript as a Protocol article, should I submit this Protocol article to the journal at the point of in-principle acceptance, or should I instead submit both the Protocol and the final manuscript with results only after a positive Stage 2 recommendation?

7. What happens if I miss the deadline to submit a full Stage 1 manuscript as part of the Scheduled Review track?

8. Can I postpone the deadline to submit a full Stage 1 manuscript as part of the Scheduled Review track?

9. As part of the Scheduled Review track, can I submit my full Stage 1 manucript in advance of the submission deadline?

10. Can I submit a presubmission enquiry to PCI RR?

11. Can I submit to PCI RR at the same time as submitting to a journal?

12. What is the difference between a PCI RR-friendly journal and a PCI RR-interested journal?

13. What are the benefits of PCI RR for authors compared with submitting RRs or regular articles directly to journals?

14. Can I present my Stage 1 RR at a conference?


For Recommenders

1. I failed to achieve the 95% correct pass rate in the recommenders entrance test. Can I take the test again?


For Journal Editors

1. I am the editor of a PCI RR-interested journal and I would like to explore the possibility of either accepting or further reviewing a manuscript that has received a positive Stage 1 or Stage 2 recommendation. How should I proceed?


For Authors

1. I plan to publish my recommended Registered Report in a traditional journal. Will submitting to PCI RR be considered prior publication by the journal, thus rendering it ineligible for consideration?

No, not if the journal you plan to publish in has a preprint-friendly submission policy. PCI RR is not a journal and doesn't publish articles; it only publishes the reviews and recommendations of manuscripts that are hosted on preprint servers. For this reason, if a journal is happy to consider submissions that are already archived on a preprint server then the journal will also consider submissions recommended by PCI RR. By default, all PCI RR-friendly and PCI RR-interested journals are preprint-friendly. You can use the Sherpa Romeo tool to find out if your intended destination journal is preprint-friendly.
 

2. At what point in the review workflow do I find out which PCI RR-friendly journals are eligible outlets?

Authors are advised at the point of Stage 1 in-principle acceptance (IPA) which PCI RR-friendly journals will publish the recommended Stage 2 manuscript provided authors adhere to the approved protocol. The list of eligible outlets is then fully confirmed at the point of a positive final Stage 2 recommendation. PCI RR cannot determine journal eligibility prior to IPA because Stage 1 review could lead to changes in the study design or disciplinary remit that alter eligibility. To aid study planning, the requirements for specific journals are available on the PCI RR website, and where authors wish to enquire about eligibility for a specific journal, the PCI RR Managing Board can provide a provisional assessment as part of a presubmission enquiry via email.
 
The decision about journal eligibility is made by PCI RR (not the journal), and is based on the disciplinary fit of the manuscript with the journal and the extent to which the manuscript meets any applicable journal requirements concerning pre-planned evidence strength, bias control, formatting, whether reviews are signed, and so on. Where the journal requires the peer reviews provided by PCI RR to be signed, authors can used the PCI RR submission checklist to instruct the recommender to only invite reviewers who agree provide a signed review. Authors intending to publish their manuscript in a PCI RR-friendly journal are advised to consult the current list of adopting journals and the Guide for Authors to ensure that they prepare their manuscript in line with any eligibility requirements.
 
Provided authors adhere closely to their approved protocol, the list of eligible PCI RR-friendly journals that is determined at the point of Stage 1 IPA will never be changed at Stage 2. However, authors are advised that major deviations from the approved Stage 1 protocol could affect the eligibility of a manuscript for a particular PCI RR-friendly journal. For example, where the level of pre-planned evidence strength at Stage 1 is for any reason unmet at Stage 2 (for example, by the authors failing to meet the pre-planned sample size) and the PCI RR-friendly journal sets a more stringent requirement on pre-planned evidence strength than PCI RR, it is possible that a Stage 2 manuscript could receive a final positive Stage 2 recommendation from PCI RR but become ineligible for automatic acceptance by the journal. As noted in Section 2.10 of the Guide for Authors, authors who need to deviate from their approved Stage 1 protocol should contact the recommender as soon as possible to discuss the implications of such deviations.
 

3. Some PCI RR-friendly journals charge a full article processing charge (APC). Can these APCs be reduced or waived given that the review process was managed by PCI RR?

It is for authors to negotiate waivers or APC reductions with journals; PCI RR remains independent of such negotiations. PCI RR does, however, create a buyer's market for authors. Not all PCI RR-friendly journals charge APCs and the PCI RR model ensures that the final, peer-reviewed output is always freely available as a preprint.
 

4. If a PCI RR-interested journal (or any other journal) offers further peer review following a positive Stage 2 recommendation from PCI RR, but the journal eventually ends up rejecting my manuscript, can I then still publish my article without further peer review in a PCI RR-friendly journal?

Yes. Authors are free to pursue publication of their recommended Stage 2 manuscript in any journal, and doing so has no impact on the commitment by eligible PCI RR-friendly journals to accept the manuscript without further peer review.
 

5. Does the guarantee to publish a recommended Stage 2 RR by a PCI RR-friendly journal have a time limit or expiration date?

Not at present. However, PCI RR reserves the right to apply a time limit in the future if we find that PCI RR-friendly journals are receiving Stage 2 submissions so long after a positive Stage 2 recommendation that the research has become out-of-date, superceded, or even misleading.
 

6. Where a PCI RR-friendly journal provides the opportunity to publish a recommended Stage 1 manuscript as a Protocol article, should I submit a Protocol article to the journal at the point of in-principle acceptance, or should I instead submit both the Protocol and the final manuscript with results only after a positive Stage 2 recommendation?

Unless a specific requirement is noted for the journal (see table entries), either approach is acceptable. In addition, there is no requirement to publish the Protocol article and the Stage 2 article in the same journal, so authors could also submit the Protocol article to one PCI RR-friendly journal at the point of Stage 1 in-principle acceptance, and then later submit the completed Stage 2 article to a different journal.
 

7. What happens if I miss the deadline to submit a full Stage 1 manuscript as part of the Scheduled Review track?

Missing the submission deadline cancels the scheduled review process, without exception. Reviewers are released from the commitment and authors cannot submit the same proposal again as a RR snapshot. Authors can, however, submit a completed Stage 1 manuscript as part of the Standard Review track.

8. Can I postpone the deadline to submit a full Stage 1 manuscript as part of the Scheduled Review track?

No. Authors are advised to propose a realistic deadline that incorporates contigencies for possible delays. Any change in the deadline will result in the reviewers being released from their commitment and authors cannot then submit the same proposal again as a RR snapshot. Authors can, however, submit a completed Stage 1 manuscript as part of the Standard Review track.
 

9. As part of the Scheduled Review track, can I submit my full Stage 1 manucript in advance of the submission deadline?

Yes, but it probably won't be reviewed until the date negotiated with the reviewer is reached.
 

10. Can I submit a presubmission enquiry to PCI RR?

Yes. Presubmission enquiries should be emailed to the PCI RR Managing Board.
 

11. Can I submit to PCI RR at the same time as submitting to a journal?

No. As part of the submission checklist, authors must declare that the manuscript is not currently under review elsewhere. Authors must also agree not to submit their manuscript to a journal before the end of the PCI RR evaluation process.
 

12. What is the difference between a PCI RR-friendly journal and a PCI RR-interested journal?

A PCI RR-friendly journal endorses the PCI RR review criteria and commits to accepting without further peer review any manuscript that achieves a positive final recommendation from PCI RR while also meeting any additional procedural requirements that do not require further scientific evaluation by the journal. Where any scientific or expert judgment is required to assess whether these additional requirements are met, a PCI RR-friendly journal commits to accepting the judgment of PCI RR without performing additional peer review.
 
A PCI RR-interested journal does not automatically accept PCI RR recommendations but has signed up to be alerted (with the consent of the authors) when a new Stage 1 in-principle acceptance (IPA) or Stage 2 acceptance is recommended by PCI RR. The journal may then contact the authors to arrange additional peer review or make a direct publication offer to the authors. Any such communications or offers are beyond the purview of PCI RR, and PCI RR does not broker or mediate negotiations. A journal may prefer to be listed as PCI RR-interested where it wants to reserve the right to perform additional peer review of RRs that receive a positive recommendation by PCI RR.
 

13. What are the benefits of PCI RR for authors compared with submitting RRs or regular articles directly to journals?

This table summarises the comparative features and benefits of PCI RR.

14. Can I present my Stage 1 RR at a conference?

Yes. In fact, evidence shows that this practice can be valuable for receiving constructive feedback, promoting open research practices, and supporting early career researchers (Brouwers et al. 2020).


For Recommenders

1. I failed to achieve the required 95% correct pass rate in the recommender's entrance test. Can I take the test again?

Yes. You can take the test as many times as you need to achieve the required pass rate. You will have received feedback on each answer. We recommend consulting this feedback to understand why any answers were incorrect.

For Journal Editors

1. I am the editor of a PCI RR-interested journal and I would like to explore the possibility of either accepting or further reviewing a manuscript that has received a positive Stage 1 or Stage 2 recommendation. How should I proceed?

There are several options available depending on the stage that the manuscript has reached with PCI RR and the extent of further in-depth review you anticipate it will need. All of these possibilities involve direct communication between the journal and the authors, with minimal (if any) involvement of PCI RR.

For Stage 1 submissions that have been awarded an in-principle acceptance (IPA) recommendation by PCI RR:

  • If you are happy to endorse a public Stage 1 IPA recommendation without further in-depth review then you need to decide whether you would prefer to take over the review process at Stage 2 or instead leave PCI RR to complete the Stage 2 evaluation before either endorsing the final Stage 2 decision unconditionally or (if you prefer) reserving the right to seek further Stage 2 review. If you want to take over the eventual Stage 2 review process, and the authors agree, then the manuscript would be withdrawn from PCI RR, triggering publication of a Withdrawn Registration notice, and the authors would eventually submit their completed Stage 2 manuscript directly to the journal rather than PCI RR. Where the Stage 1 reviews are signed (and the reviewer identities are public), you can then easily invite these reviewers back to continue their evaluation within the journal’s peer review infrastructure. If any of the reviews are anonymous, whether you are able to contact the reviewer will depend on whether the reviewer consented to share their details with journals as part of the review process. In that situation, please contact PCI RR for further information. PCI RR recommends that where journals are happy to endorse the Stage 1 IPA decision without further review, and the journal shares the same Stage 2 criteria as PCI RR, it is generally more straightforward to allow the PCI RR review process to reach a resolution before then making an offer to authors to publish the completed Stage 2 manuscript (see below).

 

  • If you are happy to offer IPA to a Stage 1 manuscript that has received a positive recommendation from PCI RR, but the reviews and recommendation are not yet publicly available, then contact PCI RR for further guidance. Authors have the option to keep all Stage 1 reviews privately embargoed until Stage 2 acceptance, even when they also consent for PCI RR-interested journals to have access to the accepted and preregistered Stage 1 manuscript.

 

  • If you are interested in the Stage 1 manuscript but would like to undertake further in-depth Stage 1 review before deciding whether to offer IPA, then contact the authors directly and invite them to submit their Stage 1 manuscript now to your journal. We recommend issuing this invitation promptly after being notified about the submission. Authors may be less willing or able to consider such offers once their research is underway, and this scenario would likely require the research to be paused while your journal undertakes an additional Stage 1 review process.

 

 For Stage 2 submissions that have received a final positive recommendation from PCI RR:

 

  • The process is straightforward. If you would like to offer publication without further review then simply contact the authors with an unconditional offer to submit to your journal. Alternatively, if after inspecting the published review history (which will include the Stage 1 and 2 reviews and all decision letters), you feel the manuscript is promising but requires further in-depth review at your journal, then contact the authors with an offer to submit to your journal for further evaluation. If the authors accept your offer, but you later reject the Stage 2 manuscript, authors can always revert to any of the eligible PCI RR-friendly journals for immediate acceptance and publication. To encourage authors to accept your invitation, we recommend contacting authors promptly before they submit their completed Stage 2 manuscript to one of the PCI RR-friendly journals or any other journal. You may also wish to remind authors that agreeing to an additional review process at your journal will not endanger the publication prospects of the manuscript by PCI RR-friendly journals.

 

If you have any questions about this processes, feel free to contact the PCI RR Managing Board.