Why Publish in PLoS ONE?

Mike Ciavarella's picture

Important updates (July 8th, 2008:


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.

Technically based publication decisions

Too often a journal's decision to publish a paper is dominated by
subjective criteria, which can be frustrating and delay the publication
of your work. PLoS ONE will publish all papers that are
judged to be rigorous and technically sound. Judgments about the
importance of any particular paper are then made after publication.

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.


PLoS ONE Editorial and Publishing Policies

  1. Relationship to Other PLoS Journals
  2. Publication Charges
  3. Copyright and License Policies
  4. Reviewer and Editor Exclusions
  5. Sharing of Materials, Method, and Data
  6. Reporting Guidelines for Specific Study Designs
  7. Human and Animal Research
  8. Nomenclature
  9. Author Status
  10. Submission of Related Manuscripts
  11. Competing Interests
  12. Scientific and Editorial Misconduct
  13. Confidentiality
  14. Blogs, Wikis, Embargoes and the Media

PLoS ONE Guidelines for Reviewers

If you have been invited to review a manuscript, please use the online manuscript submission system.

  1. About PLoS ONE
  2. Criteria for Publication
  3. Overview of the Editorial Process
  4. Reviewer Selection
  5. Writing the Review
  6. Other Questions for Consideration
  7. Confidentiality
  8. Timely Review
  9. Anonymity
  10. Editing Reviewers' Reports
  11. Competing Interests
  12. Feedback to Reviewers
  13. Sharing Reviews with Other PLoS Journals
  14. Publication of Reviewer Comments Alongside the Final Published Paper


Revisiting open access

Via Coturnix here's a link to an excellent article by Peter Suber on why open access is the way to go in scientific publishing. 

Suber sees two stages in knowledge dissemination.  In the first stage

You solve the last-mile problem for a published journal article when
you put your hands on a hardcopy or display a digital copy on a screen
in front of your face.  This requires open access (OA) or money to pay
for toll access (TA). "

In the second stage

Suppose you have a question.  You're lucky if some careful, curious
researchers have already asked the same question and done some of the
needed research.  You're luckier if some of them have taken the
research far enough to answer the question, write up their answers, win
the approval of peer reviewers, and publish them.  You're even luckier
if there's a scientific consensus on the right answer to your question
and that among the published papers on it, at least one is up to date,
written in your language, and written at your level of understanding. 
You're even luckier if the Stage One problem has been solved and,
thanks to OA or money, you have access to at least one of the
enlightening papers which meets all your conditions.

It may look like this scenario goes about as far as it can to close the
gap between you and existing knowledge.  But it leaves some nagging
parts of what I'm calling Stage Two of the last-mile problem.  How do
you go beyond access to answers?  We grant that you're darned lucky,
and that if you could find one of the enlightening papers, then you
could retrieve it, and if you could read it, then you could understand
it.  But not all published papers meet your conditions for an
enlightening paper.  In fact, nearly all of them don't.  How do you
know that an enlightening paper even exists?  When you go looking, how
can you find one that meets your conditions, and distinguish it from
other papers which happen to use the same keywords or even address the
same question? 

Without solutions to these problems, you might as well be trapped in a
maze knee-deep in conflicting maps thrown over the wall by people
trying their utmost to be helpful.

For people with less luck, Stage Two problems are more numerous and
more difficult.  How do you do find a good answer when there's no
consensus?  When there *is* a consensus answer, how do you learn what
it is when papers describing it are mixed together in your search
results with papers describing discredited answers?  How do you learn
the consensus answer when there isn't a good paper in your language or
at your level of understanding, or when the best papers use terms you'd
never think to use in your search query?  How do you get answers when
nobody has yet posed the question exactly as you have posed it, and
when partial answers lie scattered in dozens or hundreds of different
papers in different journals in different languages and even different

To solve these problems, access to the papers is necessary but not
sufficient.  But while OA is only part of the solution to the Stage Two
problem, it's a precondition to most other parts of the solution.  No
tools yet suffice to solve the Stage Two problem, and maybe no tools
ever will.  But the tools that help us inch toward a solution
presuppose OA literature and data the way telescopes presuppose open
access to the sky.  In fact, one of the primary benefits of OA is to
provide the inputs to a new generation of sophisticated tools to
facilitate research, discovery, and analysis.  Whatever methods we use
to attack Stage Two problems, OA will streamline our solutions and lack
of OA will limit their scope and slow us down".

Read the full article if this issue is of interest to you.

-- Biswajit 

RoozbehSanaei's picture

We Should Find a tool. maybe dynamic review papers.

This is very patiently academic way of searching for papers.

what about people who just like to generate more papers, without so much pateincy, many authors, just rely on factors like citation index, impact factor, and university historical name to choose between answers.

He assumed that the question is already exist, but i am sure many people just rely on same factors even to choose their question. they are even successful! may be because others do same and review their work!.

in this publication system."SELF FEEDBACK" is unlimited!

we should find a better way, i think dynamic review papers may be a better tool to compare papers ,methods ,models, etc without need to read them exactly.instead of relying only on unreasonable factors. 


Mike Ciavarella's picture

Speaking in particular of the review process in PlosONE

This of the review introduces many interesting new features.  Maybe these are the core of the fantastically rapid success of PlosONE --- he is taking many controversial papers rejected from mainstream literature because of nepotism, frienships, inner circles, and other non-scientific reasons in the standard Literature, to publish even paper previously rejected by other Plos Journals!  I was pleased to see many of my ideas discussed previously about my rejected Int  J Fatigue already realized here ---- they suggest for example to eliminate some reviewers based on authors' suggestion, if there are suspicions of unfriendly emotional a priori unbias ...

No wonder the most interesting science is more and more in PlosONE these days.  It is very innovative.  I look forward for them to have an interest in Engineering! 



PLoS ONE will provide all authors with an efficient and
"hassle-free" editorial process. Our aim is to identify those
submissions that warrant inclusion in the scientific record and present
them to the scientific community with as few hurdles as possible.

The editorial process is run by the journal's extensive board of Academic Editors
(AEs) who work together to orchestrate the peer-review process. AEs are
invited to handle submitted manuscripts on the basis of the content of
the manuscript and their own expertise. The AE evaluates the paper and
decides whether it describes a body of work that meets the editorial
criteria of PLoS ONE. AEs can employ a variety of methods, alone or in combination, to reach a decision in which they are confident:

  • They can conduct the peer review themselves, based on their own knowledge and experience
  • They can take further advice through discussion with other members of the editorial board
  • They can solicit reports from further referees

After appropriate consideration by the AE, a decision letter to the
author is drafted. This letter may also be circulated to other members
of the editorial board, who are given a short time to comment on the
editorial decision.

There are several types of decisions possible:

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

Upon acceptance, the manuscript is checked by PLoS ONE
staff to ensure that it is in a form that will allow it to be
efficiently handled by our production system. The authors will be
queried and allowed to make any final minor revisions that are needed.

This is the final stage at which authors will see their manuscript
before publication. The authors' files will be carefully tagged to
generate XML and PDF files, but will not be subject to detailed
copyediting (see Overview of the Production Process).
It is therefore essential that authors provide a thoroughly proofread
and checked manuscript, following the author checklist and any comments
from PLoS staff.



4. Reviewer Selection

Selection of reviewers for a particular manuscript is the
responsibility of the AE and is based on many factors, including
expertise, reputation, specific recommendations of authors and academic
editors, and the AE's own knowledge of a reviewer's past performance.

part of our editorial procedure, we confer with potential reviewers
before sending them manuscripts to review. Reviewers should bear in
mind that even these initial messages or conversations contain
confidential information, which should be regarded as such.

5. Writing the Review

The purpose of the review is to provide the editors with an expert
opinion regarding the quality of the manuscript under consideration.
The review should also supply authors with explicit feedback on how to
improve their papers so that they are acceptable for publication in PLoS ONE.
Although confidential comments to the editors are respected, any
remarks that might help to strengthen the paper should be directed to
the authors themselves. A good review would answer the following

  • What are the main claims of the paper?
  • Are the claims properly placed in the context of the previous literature?
  • Do the experimental data support the claims? If not, what other evidence is required?
  • Who would find this paper of interest? And why?
  • In what further directions would it be useful to take the current research?