PLoS ONE : accelerating the publication of peer-reviewed science

1. About PLoS ONE

Scientific progress requires the exchange and discussion of data and ideas. PLoS ONE is a unique publication dedicated to presenting the results of scientific research from any scientific discipline in an open-access environment. At the same time, it provides a forum in which to discuss that scientific research and so provide for each and every paper its maximum possible impact. To achieve this, PLoS ONE combines traditional peer review with ‘Web 2.0’ tools to facilitate community evaluation and discourse around the published article.

To provide open access, PLoS journals use a business model in which our expenses—including those of peer review, journal production, and online hosting and archiving—are recovered in part by charging a publication fee to the authors or research sponsors for each article they publish. For PLoS ONE the publication fee is US$1300. Authors who are affiliated with one of our Institutional Members are eligible for a discount on this fee.

Publish in PLoS ONE?

Widely disseminated and cited results—with no access restrictions!

Open access means that your work will always be freely available to the world from our Web site and from PubMed Central. And open access translates into greater usage and more citations.

Results published FAST

PLoS ONE couples efficient and objective peer review with a streamlined electronic production workflow.

Start of a conversation

Papers published in PLoS ONE will be available for commenting and debate by the readers, making every paper the start of a scientific conversation.

Inclusive scope

Most conventional journals publish papers from tightly defined subject areas, making it more difficult for readers from other disciplines to read them. PLoS ONE has no such barriers, which helps your research reach the entire scientific community.

Criteria for Publication

To be accepted for publication in PLoS ONE, research articles must satisfy the following criteria:

  1. The study presents the results of primary scientific research.
  2. Results reported have not been published elsewhere.
  3. Experiments, statistics, and other analyses are performed to a high technical standard and are described in sufficient detail.
  4. Conclusions are presented in an appropriate fashion and are supported by the data.
  5. The article is presented in an intelligible fashion and is written in standard English.
  6. The research meets all applicable standards for the ethics of experimentation and research integrity.
  7. The article adheres to appropriate reporting guidelines (e.g. CONSORT, MIAME, STROBE, EQUATOR) and community standards for data availability.

Overview of the Editorial Process

There are several types of decisions possible:

  • Accept in principle
  • Minor revision
  • Major revision
  • Reject

Organization of the Manuscript

Most articles published in PLoS ONE are organized in one of three fashions:

  • Title, Authors, Affiliations, Abstract, Introduction, Results, Discussion, Materials and Methods, Acknowledgments, References, Figure Legends, and Tables.
  • Title, Authors, Affiliations, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgments, References, Figure Legends, and Tables.
  • Title, Authors, Affiliations, Abstract, Introduction, Analysis, Discussion, Acknowledgments, References, Figure Legends, and Tables.

We advise that abstracts should not exceed 250–300 words. There are no specific length restrictions for the remaining sections of the manuscript; however, we urge authors to present and discuss their findings concisely.

Download templates:

Title (150 characters or fewer)

The title should be specific to the project, yet concise. It should be comprehensible to readers outside your field. Avoid specialist abbreviations, if possible. Titles should be presented in title case, meaning that all words except for prepositions, articles, and conjunctions should be capitalized.

Example:
Detection of Specific Sequences among DNA Fragments Separated by Gel Electrophoresis

During the online submission process, you will also provide a brief “running head” of fewer than 30 characters.

Authors and Affiliations

Provide the first names or initials (if used), middle names or initials (if used), surnames, and affiliations—department, university or organization, city, state/province (if applicable), and country—for all authors. One of the authors should be designated as the corresponding author. It is the corresponding author’s responsibility to ensure that the author list, and the summary of the author contributions to the study are accurate and complete. If the article has been submitted on behalf of a consortium, all author names and affiliations should be listed at the end of the article.

Abstract

The abstract succinctly introduces the paper. We advise that it should not exceed 250 – 300 words. It should mention the techniques used without going into methodological detail and should summarize the most important results. The abstract is conceptually divided into the following three sections: Background, Methodology/Principal Findings, and Conclusions/Significance. Please do not include any citations in the abstract. Avoid specialist abbreviations if possible.

Registration

Registration details should be included when reporting results of a clinical trial (see “Reporting Clinical Trials” for details). For each location that your trial is registered, please list: name of registry, registry number, and URL of your trial in the registry database.

Introduction

The introduction should put the focus of the manuscript into a broader context. As you compose the introduction, think of readers who are not experts in this field. Include a brief review of the key literature. If there are relevant controversies or disagreements in the field, they should be mentioned so that a non-expert reader can delve into these issues further. The introduction should conclude with a brief statement of the overall aim of the experiments and a comment about whether that aim was achieved.

Results

The results section should provide details of all of the experiments that are required to support the conclusions of the paper. There is no specific word limit for this section. The section may be divided into subsections, each with a concise subheading. Large datasets, including raw data, should be submitted as supporting information files; these are published online alongside the accepted article. We advise that the results section be written in past tense.

Discussion

The discussion should spell out the major conclusions of the work along with some explanation or speculation on the significance of these conclusions. How do the conclusions affect the existing assumptions and models in the field? How can future research build on these observations? What are the key experiments that must be done? The discussion should be concise and tightly argued. Conclusions firmly established by the presented data, hypotheses supported by the presented data, and speculations suggested by the presented data should be clearly identified as such. The results and discussion may be combined into one section, if desired.

Materials and Methods

This section should provide enough detail to allow full replication of the study by suitably skilled investigators. Protocols for new methods should be included, but well-established protocols may simply be referenced. We encourage authors to submit, as separate supporting information files, detailed protocols for newer or less well-established methods. These are published online only, but are linked to the article and are fully searchable.

Acknowledgments

Details of the funding sources that have supported the work should be confined to the funding statement provided in the online submission system. Do not include them in the acknowledgments.

References

Only published or accepted manuscripts should be included in the reference list. Meetings abstracts, conference talks, or papers that have been submitted but not yet accepted should not be cited. Limited citation of unpublished work should be included in the body of the text only. All personal communications should be supported by a letter from the relevant authors.

Mac users, hold down “Option” key and click the link to download the file to your computer.

Overview of the Production Process

Prior to submission, authors who believe their manuscripts would benefit from professional editing are encouraged to use language-editing and copyediting services, such as the ones described on the following Web sites. PLoS does not take responsibility for or endorse these services, and their use has no bearing on acceptance of a manuscript for publication.

Before formal acceptance, the manuscript will be checked by PLoS staff to ensure that it complies with all essential format requirements. The authors’ files are then carefully tagged to generate XML and PDF files, but will not be subject to detailed copyediting. Obtaining this service is the responsibility of the author.

Scientific Editing Services (in alphabetical order):

PLoS ONE : accelerating the publication of peer-reviewed science.

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