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Other Article Types

The PLOS Medicine Magazine is for commentary, debate, analysis, guidance, and review of topics in health and health research. Articles are a mix of commissioned and unsolicited material. Authors of unsolicited articles are encouraged to send a presubmission inquiry via our online submission system so that we can assess the suitability of the topic ahead of formal submission.

Magazine articles should be aimed at a general medical audience, and all of the key assertions should be supported by evidence. Three to five short, bulleted summary points are required, in place of an abstract. Titles should not include jargon, cliché, or idioms (e.g., “Mind the gap,” “Think outside the box,” “Apples and oranges,” or “Paradigm shift”).

The PLOS Medicine Magazine has the following sections:

Editorials

Editorials are written by the PLOS Medicine editors and published monthly.

Essays

Essays are opinion pieces, grounded in evidence, on a topic of broad interest to a general medical audience. They should be up to 1500 words long, with up to 12 references and 2 display items (tables, figures, boxes). Please use a series of sub-headings to guide readers through the article, and cite the key evidence in support of your assertions. In general, PLOS Medicine Essays tend to follow a 3-part narrative structure along the lines of: What is the problem? What is the solution? What needs to happen next?

Example Essays

Bloem P, Ogbuanu I (2017) Vaccination to prevent human papillomavirus infections: From promise to practice. PLoS Med 14(6): e1002325. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002325

Jackson TA, Gladman JRF, Harwood RH, MacLullich AMJ, Sampson EL, Sheehan B, et al. (2017) Challenges and opportunities in understanding dementia and delirium in the acute hospital. PLoS Med 14(3): e1002247. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002247​

Ioannidis JPA (2016) Why Most Clinical Research Is Not Useful. PLoS Med 13(6): e1002049. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002049

Guidelines and Guidance

The Guidelines and Guidance section contains advice on conducting and reporting research. Articles may raise awareness of emerging methods in biomedical research, announce a new reporting standard or consensus-type statement, or provide a “how to” guide about statistics, study design, or other methodological issues.

More Information

The PLoS Medicine Editors (2008) Better Reporting, Better Research: Guidelines and Guidance in PLoS Medicine. PLoS Med 5(4): e99. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050099

It is important that your full article provide details about the method by which the group achieve consensus about the guidelines or guidance you are reporting. The following must be explicitly detailed in Guidelines and Guidance articles:

  • How the panel/experts were selected (as this is an obvious and potential major source of bias, for example)
  • How many potential participants declined/failed to participate
  • How the workshop was conducted and, crucially, how agreement was reached re the various recommendations
  • How the panel ensured dissenting views were aired and considered
  • Unresolved issues
  • A frank discussion of the strengths and limitations of the processes used.

Articles should not exceed 3000 words and may cite up to 30 references. If you have written a longer paper, please prepare a 3000-word summary and then upload the long version as a Supporting Information file.

Example Guidelines and Guidance

Vernooij RWM, Alonso-Coello P, Brouwers M, Martínez García L, CheckUp Panel (2017) Reporting Items for Updated Clinical Guidelines: Checklist for the Reporting of Updated Guidelines (CheckUp). PLoS Med 14(1): e1002207. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002207

Kirkham JJ, Gorst S, Altman DG, Blazeby JM, Clarke M, Devane D, et al. (2016) Core Outcome Set–STAndards for Reporting: The COS-STAR Statement. PLoS Med 13(10): e1002148. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002148

Lachat C, Hawwash D, Ocké MC, Berg C, Forsum E, Hörnell A, et al. (2016) Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology—Nutritional Epidemiology (STROBE-nut): An Extension of the STROBE Statement. PLoS Med 13(6): e1002036. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002036

Health in Action

The Health in Action section focuses on innovative health improvement projects. These pieces are often written by health activists, non-governmental organizations, or researchers in low- or middle- income settings. We are particularly interested in featuring articles by groups or individuals who rarely have a voice in medical journals.

The piece should be up to 2000 words, with up to 20 references and 2-3 display items. We ask authors to first set the scene (why was your project needed?), then describe the project itself and discuss any early results of the project and the barriers and difficulties you have faced. Finally, we ask authors to end by looking to the future: where is the project heading next?

Examples for Health in Action

Possin KL, Merrilees J, Bonasera SJ, Bernstein A, Chiong W, Lee K, et al. (2017) Development of an adaptive, personalized, and scalable dementia care program: Early findings from the Care Ecosystem. PLoS Med 14(3): e1002260. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002260

Sheather J, Jobanputra K, Schopper D, Pringle J, Venis S, Wong S, et al. (2016) A Médecins Sans Frontières Ethics Framework for Humanitarian Innovation. PLoS Med 13(9): e1002111. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002111

Mukwege D, Berg M (2016) A Holistic, Person-Centred Care Model for Victims of Sexual Violence in Democratic Republic of Congo: The Panzi Hospital One-Stop Centre Model of Care. PLoS Med 13(10): e1002156. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002156

Perspectives

Perspective articles are commissioned from an expert and discuss the clinical practice or public health implications of a published open access study, usually a study published in PLOS Medicine. We do not publish unsolicited Perspectives.

Articles are up to 1000 words in length, with up to 12 references. 

Example Perspectives

Basu S, Madsen K (2017) Effectiveness and equity of sugar-sweetened beverage taxation. PLoS Med 14(6): e1002327. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002327

Myers JE, Johnstone ED (2016) Is There Evidence of Poorer Birth Outcomes for Mothers and Babies When the Most Senior Obstetrician Is Not On Site? PLoS Med 13(4): e1002001. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002001

Miller E, John TJ (2016) Sailing in Uncharted Waters: Carefully Navigating the Polio Endgame. PLoS Med 13(10): e1002141. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002141 

Policy Forum

This section is for authors to discuss health issues that have policy implications. We are particularly keen to feature articles by health policymakers that discuss the challenges and opportunities in improving health care for their constituencies. Articles should not exceed 2000 words and may cite up to 30 references.

If you are discussing a particular health policy proposal, first provide the background (why is a particular policy needed?), then outline your proposal and the evidence that supports it, and then describe the challenges that lie ahead in its implementation. The use of display items (tables, figures, boxes) is encouraged. Please keep in mind how others might learn from your experiences. 

Example Policy Forums

Kesselheim AS, Treasure CL, Joffe S (2017) Biomarker-Defined Subsets of Common Diseases: Policy and Economic Implications of Orphan Drug Act Coverage. PLoS Med 14(1): e1002190. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002190

Gostin LO, Tomori O, Wibulpolprasert S, Jha AK, Frenk J, Moon S, et al. (2016) Toward a Common Secure Future: Four Global Commissions in the Wake of Ebola. PLoS Med 13(5): e1002042. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002042

Sharma M, Barnabas RV, Celum C (2017) Community-based strategies to strengthen men’s engagement in the HIV care cascade in sub-Saharan Africa. PLoS Med 14(4): e1002262. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1002262​

Research in Translation (RIT)

Research in Translation articles are focused on the translation of basic to clinical research, or of clinical evidence to practice or policy. In the context of advancing the reader's understanding of a public health issue or the pathophysiology, prevention, or treatment of a particular disease, these articles should clearly demonstrate how the earlier work led to an advance with clear implications for human health. RiT articles may also raise awareness of an unresolved scientific or practical research question in translational medicine, with clear relevance to human health, in order to help inform future research and policy agendas.

The article should provide sufficient history and background to frame the topic for the reader with a general background in medical science. It should then discuss selected advances with attention to how these are expected to improve care or define future research on the topic. The article should conclude with a summary that includes next steps in applying these improvements.

RIT articles should not exceed 2000 words and 20 references. The use of display items (tables, figures, boxes) is encouraged. We also ask authors to include a box with “The Five Key Papers in the Field.” For each key paper, please give a sentence on why the paper was such a breakthrough.

Examples for Research in Translation

van der Worp HB, Howells DW, Sena ES, Porritt MJ, Rewell S, et al. (2010) Can Animal Models of Disease Reliably Inform Human Studies? PLoS Med 7(3): e1000245. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000245​ 

Pai M, Ramsay A, O'Brien R (2008) Evidence-based Tuberculosis Diagnosis. PLoS Med 5(7): e156. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050156 

Rogerson SJ, Carter R (2008) Severe Vivax Malaria: Newly Recognised or Rediscovered? PLoS Med 5(6): e136. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0050136 

Edmond K, Zaidi A (2010) New Approaches to Preventing, Diagnosing, and Treating Neonatal Sepsis. PLoS Med 7(3): e1000213. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.1000213​