A preprint is a version of a scientific manuscript posted to a public server prior to peer review or formal publication in a scholarly journal. PLOS encourages authors to post preprints as a way to accelerate the dissemination of research.

Learn more about the power of preprints
→ About preprints
→ Why choose preprints
→ PLOS preprint FAQ

PLOS and bioRxiv

PLOS partners with bioRxiv to make posting preprints in the life sciences easy and convenient. All PLOS PLOS Biology research articles are elligible for preprints, with the exception of preregistered research articles. There are two ways to post:

  1. Authors posting preprints to the bioRxiv preprint server may choose to concurrently submit their manuscripts to PLOS journals through the bioRxiv direct transfer service.
  2. Authors submitting manuscripts in the life sciences to PLOS Biology may opt-in to post their work on bioRxiv during the PLOS Biology initial submission process.

Preparing Preprint Files for Submission

Preprints appear on bioRxiv in PDF format. Authors can choose to supply their own preprint PDF at full submission or use an automatically generated PDF.

Author-supplied PDFs

If you supply a preprint PDF it will appear on bioRxiv exactly as it is.

Be sure to include title, authors, abstract, and the full text of the manuscript, along with any figures or tables, and their captions.

bioRxiv limits PDF file size to 20 MB or less. Be sure to compress your PDF to meet this requirement.

Automatically generated PDFs

PLOS Biology can automatically compile a preprint PDF suitable for bioRxiv from the manuscript file and figure files that are part of your regular journal submission. Supplementary information will not be included in auto-generated preprints, but may be uploaded directly to bioRxiv after posting.

Note that some figure quality may be lost during the auto-conversion process. For best results, make sure that your submission materials meet journal formatting requirements, and that tables fit within the margins of the page. If you are concerned about figure resolution, consider supplying a preprint PDF alongside your other submission files.

Preprint Checks

PLOS Biology screens preprint submissions for bioRxiv suitability before the manuscript enters the peer review process. The screening involves checks for:

  • Scope. Only submissions reporting primary research in biology and the life sciences are eligible for posting on bioRxiv. Read more about bioRxiv’s scope.
  • Inappropriate, inflammatory, or offensive language or content
  • Claims with implications for public health or other issues that should undergo peer review before posting
  • Text overlap
  • Dual use research of concern
  • Copyright. The authors must have the right to post the full submission, including figures, under a CC BY license. Read more about licenses and copyright.
  • Identifying personal information

Preprint Posting

Most preprints will appear on bioRxiv within a few days of submission. Authors will receive a notification of successful preprint posting directly from bioRxiv.

The journal office will communicate with the authors if issues arise or screening indicates a manuscript is not eligible for posting to bioRxiv.

If the corresponding author has more than one email address in Editorial Manager, only the first address will appear on the posted preprint.

Eligibility to post on bioRxiv is independent from the editorial assessment and peer review process. Preprint checks do not impact the decision regarding suitability for publication in PLOS Biology. Read more about editorial selection at PLOS Biology.

Editorial Assessment

PLOS encourages editors to consider comments and feedback available on the preprint record to inform their editorial decision, and where relevant, editors may incorporate those comments in their editorial feedback to authors.

Updates to Preprints

Once a manuscript has been posted as a preprint on bioRxiv, authors may submit updates or revisions on bioRxiv directly. Consult the bioRxiv submit page for specific instructions.

Linking Preprints to Published Papers

If a manuscript with a concurrent bioRxiv preprint is accepted for publication in PLOS Biology, the preprint and published article will link to each other when the article appears online.


If a concern arises about a published PLOS article with a related bioRxiv preprint, PLOS will evaluate the concern according to our standard editorial processes, taking into account any relevant comments available on the bioRxiv preprint.

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