PCI made Google doc temlpates

3 minute read


Have you heard about PeerCommunityIn, or PCI for short? It’s an organisation, that runs a peer reviewing platform and a diamond-open access journal. The way it works is, you submit a preprit to any of the preprint servers (such as bioRxiv) and then pass the details to appropriate PCI (there are 15 are moment for all sorts of disciplines). There will be a recommender (moreless like an editor), who will manage your preprint, evaluate if it is a credible piece and then send invitations to reviewers. Once you get through the review process, your priperint will get recommended. Once that happens, it’s up to you what you do next, you can either submit the already reviewed preprint to one of the classical journals, or you can right away publish it in the PCI Journal. The initiative is great for reducing work load for reviewers, bringing transparency to the review process and finally brings a sustainable solution to scientific publishing - you should totally check it out.

Recently we gave it a try, our preprint got reviewed, then we submitted it to a nice society journal (Genetics) and it was accepted right away without any further revisions or delays. Overall, it was a really nice experience. The only bit that I was a bit unhappy about was amount of formating I had to do to get it to PCI-friendly shape. That was because the templates for PCI preprints existed only for MS Word or LaTeX. That does cover majority of science market, but I am writing all my collaborative manuscript in Google Docs and getting the template there was a bit of a pain. I did suggest to make one, and you won’t belive… THEY MADE THEM!

So, for all other Google Docs + Zotero users. Here is a short tutorial how to get it to work together. There are a few points to be made so, let me give you a walkthrough.

How to get your Google-doc preprint formated for PCI

  1. Find the appropriate PCI template from their Google Doc directory. Open it and make a copy!

  1. I am assuming you have Zotero and Zotero connecor installed in your browser. PCI uses a bit unusual reference style, but you can import it to Zotero. First, download this csl file (if it opens in a new brower tab, just right click and “Save Page as …”). Then open Zotero and go Preferences -> Cite -> “Styles” tab. Finally, click on the small “+” and add there the downloaded .csl file. Now you have created a new reference style for Zotero.

  1. Then in Google docs, you will be able to add all the citations (by clicking on the small Z within the Google doc menu panel). This is something you already know if you used Zotero in Google Docs before.

  1. and finally set “PCI reference style” as the reference style in the “Zotero - Document Preferences”

Done. Now your preprint should be PCI-formated. The only part I did not figure out was, how to make the DOI in the reference list a web-link, so people can click on it directly (something PCI asks you to do), I guess the best I can suggest is to finalize the references in the very end by making the links links manually at the very very end before submission. However, I hate manual solutions, so if someone can think of a better way, I am happy to hear about it!


PCI is great, and we should not waste this opportunity to heal academic publishing. They make a great deal of effort to make the platform as friendly as possible to everyone and now that there are Google docs templates, there is nothing that stands between your manuscripts and this awesome initiative :-).

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