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Presubmission Inquiries

When authors are unsure whether their work satisfies the basic requirements for publication in PLOS Computational Biology, we are happy to consider presubmission inquiries.

If you would like to submit an informal presubmission inquiry to see if a manuscript is appropriate in principle, please login or register for a new account within our online submission system, and then submit your query by choosing “Submit Presubmission Inquiry” from the list of article types. Required for all presubmission inquiries are contact information for the corresponding author, a cover letter (as a separate file), and an abstract.

Responses to these inquiries are normally provided within one week. Responses may take longer if consultation between members of the Editorial Board is required. If you are invited to submit your manuscript, we will do our best to provide an expeditious initial assessment of the complete manuscript for suitability and then, if warranted, external peer review.

Before submitting a presubmission inquiry, authors may find reading our “How To” guide helpful:

How to Write a Presubmission Inquiry

Presubmissions for the Methods Section

Methods presubmission inquiries should be succinct but informative. On the basis of the inquiry the editors should be able to answer the following questions:

  • What is the major innovation in the paper, compared with the state of the art of the field?
  • Why is the innovation substantial and relevant?
  • What is the concrete method being put forth and what is its intended user community?
  • How has the method been validated?
  • How is the method being made available?

For further information about Methods submissions, see our Methods Submission Guidelines.

Presubmissions for the Software Section

Software presubmission inquiries should explain how the proposed Software article meets the following criteria:

  • Article describes outstanding open source software of exceptional importance that has been shown to provide new biological insights.
  • Software must already be widely adopted, or have the promise of wide adoption by a broad community of users.
  • Software must be downloadable anonymously in source code form, with accompanying documentation, and licensed under an Open Source Initiative (OSI) compliant license.

Where relevant, Software presubmission inquiries should include the following information:

  • The software name and the address of the repository used for the software.
  • The license used for the software.
  • A description of the software input, output, and the method(s) it implements, including citations for previous publications of the method or software.
  • Between two and four keywords.
  • The number of users who tested the software outside of the authors group.
  • The number of inputs analyzed during testing.
  • The number of examples (input files) provided with the software.
  • Any other similar or related methods (with links and citations).
  • A description of continuous integration of the software, a bug reporting URL (such as bugzilla or github issues), and a mailing list or chat rooms, if these things exist.

For further information about Software submissions, see our Software Submission Guidelines.