PLOS Biology publishes significant advances across the biological sciences. And we push boundaries.
Designed to advance science and the communities who depend upon it, we’re transforming research communication to fit the research process. Evolving article types and policies empower authors to share the full story behind their science with a global audience of researchers, educators, policy makers, patient advocacy groups, and the public.
Authors who publish with PLOS Biology benefit from policies and research outputs shaped by the process of scientific enquiry, as well as outstanding quality and trusted expertise. PLOS Biology offers…
- More time to do research. Easily submit a PDF of your manuscript (without formatting!) and get a preliminary decision from one of our staff editors in about one week. You’ll only need to provide additional information if we decide to send your work for peer review.
- Assessment grounded in the roots of science. Our assessment emphasizes the value of research questions and the approach undertaken, surfacing the importance of the entire research process -- not just the final results.
- Timely feedback on your work. Our Staff Editors provide you with an initial decision within 6 days on average, and peer-review takes 42 days on average.
- More ways to share each stage of your research and get credit for each piece. Preprints as well as a diverse range of publishing options such as preregistration and linked article types document the full research cycle in a way that makes sense for your science.
- Consideration of complementary research. Although originality is an important criterion for studies published in PLOS Biology, the journal depressurizes the publication process by accepting submissions that confirm, replicate, extend, or are complementary to a recently published significant advance. Read our editorial, The Importance of Being Second for more information on this policy.
- Combined expertise of dedicated Staff Editors and leading scientists in the field. Our Staff Editors work with you to guide your work through submission and peer review. They also partner with our Academic Editors, who are experts in the field, to provide expert guidance. This unique editorial model ensures expertise, fairness and efficiency for each manuscript.
- Tools to ensure transparency and long term replicability of your work. Open data, code, and protocols help ensure your work remains replicable, while contextualized peer review and the option to publish your peer review history provide additional expert insight into the evaluation of your work and the rationale behind publication decisions.
- Broad visibility and impact. Your research is open to everyone to see, cite, share and build upon your science. Our superior press program helps boost their impact with additional media coverage.
PLOS Biology is the flagship PLOS journal in the life sciences and features works of exceptional significance, originality, and relevance in all areas of biological science and at every scale; from molecules to ecosystems, including works at the interface of other disciplines. We also welcome data-driven meta-research articles that evaluate and aim to improve the standards of research in the life sciences and beyond.
We evaluate research based on the important questions it answers as well as its potential to impact an international scientific community as well as educators, policy makers, patient advocacy groups, and society more broadly.
PLOS Biology is highly selective and publishes significant advances resulting from original lines of inquiry that have a broad impact in their field and across other disciplines. To be considered for publication, work must also demonstrate a high standard of scientific rigor in its methodology, reporting, and conclusions.
Manuscripts that confirm, replicate, extend, or are complementary to a recently published, significant advance are still eligible for consideration in PLOS Biology and may be submitted up to six months after the first article’s publication date. The complementary manuscript must present equally or more rigorous findings than the published study and meet the criteria for publication listed above. Preliminary placeholder studies will not be considered. Read our editorial for further information: PLOS Biology Staff Editors (2018) The Importance of Being Second. PLoS Biol 16(1) https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pbio.2005203.
PLOS Biology offers diverse publication outputs for every type and stage of research so that authors can communicate their work earlier, more broadly, and with more transparency of the entire research process.
We welcome submissions in the following formats:
Pregregistration is an optional first step toward publishing a research article in PLOS Biology that enables authors to increase the transparency, thoroughness, and credibility of scientific results. Authors submit their study design for peer review prior to conducting their investigation. If the proposed study demonstrates originality and potential to provide significant advance to the field, staff editors will issue a provisional accept that enables authors to complete their experiments and submit a completed manuscript, which will be evaluated based on adherence to the study design.
Regular research articles present original research that significantly advances current understanding in any field across the full spectrum of the life sciences.
Methods articles describe significant methodological or technical innovations, or substantial improvements over previously established methods. Resources consist of data sets or other significant scientific resources that are of general interest and demonstrate applicability. Learn more.
Meta- Research articles are data-driven articles that examine significant questions of how biological research is designed, carried out, communicated and evaluated, or which explores the systems that evaluate and reward individual scientists or institutions. Learn more.
Brief articles presenting novel, intriguing results from a limited set of experiments that can be summarized in up to 4 figures. Short Reports are designed to enable authors to communicate a concise set of experiments that may reconcile conflicting observations, or apply known techniques to an original question. Learn more.
Brief, early reports that present novel and groundbreaking early findings, confirmed by independent approaches, that have the potential to lead to a significant advance in the field. Discovery Reports give researchers the flexibility to publish and earn credit for their initial findings as a first step, thereby helping the field move forward earlier. Detailed mechanistic insights are not required at this stage, but could follow in one or more linked Update Articles (see below).
Update articles build upon previously published work in PLOS Biology Discovery Reports so that authors can share advances as their work progresses. Most Update articles will contribute a detailed, robust mechanism or understanding of the phenomenon described in a previous Discovery Report, or underscore its physiological relevance. They may also report negative follow up results. Update articles may be published by the same researchers or by other labs and will easily link back to the original Discovery Report to create a comprehensive research story, and ensure credit is appropriately attributed at each stage.
PLOS Biology encourages researchers to share early versions of their manuscripts via preprint servers, either before or after submission. Posting to a preprint server will not preclude consideration of your manuscript. Through our partnership with bioRxiv, you can submit directly to PLOS Biology through this preprint server, or opt-in to have us post your submission to bioRxiv on your behalf.
We’re committed to helping authors develop and share their best work. PLOS Biology Staff Editors partner with our Academic Editors, who are leading experts in all fields of biology, for each manuscript that undergoes peer review. This unique editorial model ensures a constructive, efficient, and objective evaluation for all authors.
Our Editor-in-Chief oversees all aspects of journal content and development in line with the overarching mission of PLOS. She ensures we continually meet the needs of our community, keeping PLOS Biology at the forefront of open science publishing.
PLOS Biology publication fees vary based on article type and will be billed upon acceptance. Authors’ ability to pay publication fees will never be a consideration in the decision whether to publish. You can find a full list of our publication fees and fee assistance information here.
PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works we publish. 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. Learn more.
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.
See publishing details for all PLOS journal titles, including ISSN and indexing and archiving information.
PLOS is a nonprofit, Open Access publisher empowering researchers to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication.
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