PLOS Biology features works of exceptional significance, originality, and relevance in all areas of biological science, from molecules to ecosystems, including works at the interface of other disciplines, such as chemistry, medicine, and mathematics. We also welcome data-driven meta-research articles that evaluate and aim to improve the standards of research in the life sciences and beyond. Our audience is the international scientific community as well as educators, policy makers, patient advocacy groups, and interested members of the public around the world.
Data-driven research articles:
- Outstanding primary research articles in all aspects of biology.
- Provocative short reports based on a more limited number of experiments
- Outstanding methods and resource articles
- Outstanding meta-research articles that examine how research is (or should be) designed, carried out, communicated, and evaluated. (Scientific meta-analyses conducted to provide novel biological insights are considered research articles.) For more information, refer to this editorial, which describes the scope and aims of meta-research articles: Kousta S, Ferguson C, Ganley E (2016) Meta-Research: Broadening the Scope of PLOS Biology. PLoS Biol 14(1): e1002334. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.1002334.
- A rich magazine section, featuring Essays, Perspectives, Unsolved Mysteries, Community Pages, Primers, and more. Read more about the magazine article types we publish.
PLOS Biology is highly selective in the manuscripts that it publishes; rejection rates are high. To be considered for publication in PLOS Biology, any given manuscript must be exceptional in the following ways:
Importance to researchers in its field
Interest to scientists outside the field
- Rigorous methodology and substantial evidence for its conclusions
PLOS Biology encourages researchers to share early versions of their manuscripts via preprint server, either before or after submission; posting to a preprint server will not preclude consideration of your manuscript.
Scientists commonly refer to research as “scooped” when independent groups working on the same topic reach similar conclusions and one group publishes the results first. Although originality is one criterion for studies published in PLOS Biology, “scooped” manuscripts that confirm, replicate, extend, or are complementary to a recently published, significant advance are still eligible for consideration in PLOS Biology. The complementary manuscript must present equally or more rigorous findings than the published study and any submission must also meet the criteria for publication listed above. Authors of the complementary work have six months after the first article’s publication date to submit their manuscript to PLOS Biology. Studies must be performed comprehensively, and preliminary placeholder studies will not be considered. Read our editorial for further clarification of our position on complementary research: PLOS Biology Staff Editors (2018) The Importance of Being Second. PLoS Biol 16(1) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2005203.
Our aim is to provide all authors with an efficient, courteous, and constructive editorial process. To ensure the fairest and most objective decision-making, the editorial process is run as a partnership between the PLOS Biology professional editors and the Editorial Board, which is comprised of leaders in all fields of biology.
The ultimate responsibility for the PLOS Biology content and editorial decision-making lies with the team of professional editors.
PLOS Biology is supported by a number of freelance associate editors who support the PLOS Biology editors by providing input during the editorial process.
PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works we publish. This license was developed to facilitate open access – namely, free immediate access to, and unrestricted reuse of, original works of all types.
Under this license, authors agree to make articles legally available for reuse, without permission or fees, for virtually any purpose. Anyone may copy, distribute, or reuse these articles, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. Read PLOS’ licenses and copyright policy.
PLOS does not consider Impact Factor to be a reliable or useful metric to assess the performance of individual articles. PLOS supports DORA – the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment – and does not promote our journal Impact Factors. We will provide the metric to individuals when specifically requested.
PLOS promotes the use of Article-Level Metrics (ALMs), which enable scientists and the general public to engage more dynamically with published research. ALMs reflect the changing impact of research over time, incorporate academic as well as social impacts of research, and assess the impact of research before the accrual of academic citations. Read more about ALMs.
PLOS Biology publication fees are US$3000 per manuscript and will be billed upon acceptance. Authors’ ability to pay publication fees will never be a consideration in the decision whether to publish. Read more about publication fees and publication fee support.
See publishing details for all PLOS journal titles, including ISSN and indexing and archiving information.
PLOS (Public Library of Science) publishes a suite of influential journals from all areas of science and medicine that contain rigorously reported, peer-reviewed Open Access research articles. The journals vary in their criteria for publication and, with the exception of PLOS ONE, also publish a variety of influential and educational non-research content. The journals are editorially independent. Read more about the PLOS suite of journals.
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