Annals of Forest Science already accepts the submission of manuscripts that were first made available as a preprint (i.e., manuscripts deposited on an open server before submission to a journal) on a public repository for dissemination, scientific debates and potential improvements. We indeed believe that this step of preprint before submission allows authors to gather comments and suggestions from the scientific community and to improve the manuscript before any submission to a journal.
We also accept citation of preprints in the reference list of the papers we publish, provided these preprints have undergone some quality control and/or a peer-review and have been endorsed by a community of scientists providing a detailed and public recommendation. This creates an important distinction between preprints that are still in their early life stage (i.e., exposed to comments, criticism and suggestions) and those that have been recommended/endorsed by a scientific community and therefore become citable as are papers published in recognized journals.
The new step we make today is to state publicly that Annals of Forest Science not only considers preprints for publication, but also takes into account the recommendations provided by such communities. More specifically, we recognize the recommendations made by a “Peer Community In…” (https://peercommunityin.org/ ). This applies to any of these communities, with however an emphasis on Peer Community in Forest & Wood Sciences (https://forestwoodsci.peercommunityin.org/PCIForestWoodSci) which is close to the scope of Annals of Forest Science. Recognition means that the recommendation is taken into account during the internal review process as a valuable information and at the same level than internal reviews. An additional internal review may still be required at the convenience of the editorial board and final decision will consider all these reviews.
This information is available on the journal’s web page (https://www.springer.com/journal/13595 ).
In the future, we may extend this principle to other peer reviewed preprints when they develop (and there are some under development).
We believe that this recognition is a step towards open reviewing of manuscript. As a matter of fact, Annals of Forest Science aims at switching its current reviewing model (which is a double blind review systems where authors do not know the reviewers and reviewers do not know the names of the authors, and the reviews are kept in the journal archive) to a new model where we will provide more visibility to the reviews and the reviewers (if they wish so). We will inform our readers, authors and reviewers of the gradual opening as soon as the modalities have been clearly set up together with our publisher.
The move to open science is in full swing in Annals of Forest Science!
Editor in chief
Université de Lorraine, AgroParisTech, INRAE, Silva, F54000 Nancy.