Advertisement

Supporting Information

Supporting information is auxiliary to the main content of the article. In the online version of the published article, readers access the files via hyperlinks in the Supporting Information section of the article. PLOS hosts these files on its servers.

Individual, standalone files are ideal for supporting information. However, in some cases it is important to have one file containing all supporting information; e.g., one file named  "S1 Supporting Information" that contains individually cited supporting tables, figures, etc. Although this option is possible, it is far from ideal from a publishing and reader standpoint.

File Types

The PLOS publishing platform supports any file type for supporting information files. 

File Size

For ease of reader access, we recommend that supporting information files be less than 10 MB.

TIP: Ways to reduce file size

  • Compress very large files (e.g., LZW compression of TIFFs, etc.)
  • Change format (e.g., convert a very large EPS or SVG to PDF)
  • Collect as a ZIP file (e.g., multipage datasets)

Figures and Tables

Supporting figures and supporting tables need to adhere to our supporting information guidelines. They do not follow the same requirements as tables and figures in the main body of your manuscript because we host them on servers that can handle a wider variety of file types than our published articles.

Item Description

You may use almost any description as the item name of your supporting information as long as it contains an "S" and number. For example, “S1 Appendix” and “S2 Appendix,” “S1 Table” and “S2 Table,” and so forth.  

Common item descriptions include, but are not limited to:

  • Alternative Language Abstract
  • Appendix
  • Checklist
  • Dataset
  • Figure
  • File
  • Movie
  • Protocol
  • Supporting Information
  • Table
  • Text
  • Video

Use whole numbers when naming your supporting information files. Combine separate parts (e.g., S1A and S1B Table) into one file (e.g. S1 Table) or rename with whole numbers (e.g., S1 and S2 Table).

Match the names of your supporting information files with the supporting information captions within your manuscript. For example, a PDF file for “S2 Fig.” must be named “S2_fig.pdf”.

Captions

The supporting information name and number are required in a caption, and we highly recommend including a one-line title as well. You may also include a legend in your caption, but it is not required. Format your supporting information captions as follows:

 

     S1 Text. Title is strongly recommended. Legend is optional.

 

In the published article, supporting information files are accessed only through a hyperlink attached to the captions. For this reason, you must list captions at the end of your manuscript file. You may include a caption within the supporting information file itself, as long as that caption is also provided in the manuscript file. Do not submit a separate caption file.

In-Text Citations

We recommend that you cite supporting information in the manuscript text, but this is not a requirement. If you cite supporting information in the text, citations do not need to be in numerical order.

If you wish to refer to an element within an supporting information file, such as a table within a supporting text, cite it in one of the following ways: “Table A in S1 Text,” “Table in S1 Table,” or “data in S1 Text.” Do NOT cite it as “S1 Table in S1 Text.” This may lead to hyperlinking errors. 

Multimedia files

Quality and format

We expect reasonable video quality and prefer 128 kbit/s AAC audio ZD and 480p H.264 video in an MPEG-4 (mp4) container. However, we accept other video file formats: mov, avi, mpg, mpeg, mp4.

File size

Preferred size limit of videos is 10 MB. If making the dimensions smaller or recompressing the video compromises the image quality or usefulness of the video, we can accept the video file as is.

Video players

Videos must open and play in common players, such as QuickTime Player, Windows Media Player, or VLC.  

Codecs

A codec (“compression-decompression”) is a software module that contains algorithms used by encoding or playback software to encode or decode video and/or audio information.

Popular proprietary codecs include Windows Media Video and QuickTime. Open source video codec alternatives include x264 or the XviD codec. XviD is a high-quality codec and is the most widely supported open source option available. It is relatively simple for most people to watch as many players have native support for XviD. For more information, see this guide to encoding.

Standards

Videos compression standards, such as the MPEG1, MPEG2, and MPEG4 standards set by the Motion Picture Experts Group, are a set of rules that video codecs and formats must be designed to adhere to. The MPEG4 standard contains several parts including Advanced Simple Profile (MPEG4 Part 2) that contains elements implemented in codecs such as XviD, 3ivX, DivX, and H.264 (MPEG4 Part 10).