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Submission Guidelines

About the Journal

PLOS Biology pushes boundaries to publish highly selective research across the life sciences. Read more about our scope.

Manuscript Organization

Most research article manuscripts should be organized as follows. Instructions for each element appear below. To prepare a Preregistered Research Article submission, consult those specific guidelines. For guidelines to prepare Magazine section content, please find information here.

Most manuscripts should be organized as follows. Instructions for each element appear below.

Other elements

  Please refer to our downloadable sample files to ensure that your submission meets our formatting requirements:

Style and Format

If the editors issue a minor revision decision after review, we’ll ask you to adjust your manuscript to meet our formatting guidelines prior to acceptance. Until then, we do not require journal-specific formatting. Read about our easy, format-free submission process and start your submission.

File format

Submit the manuscript file in DOC, DOCX, RTF, or PDF format. Your file should not be locked or protected.

If you have written your manuscript in LaTeX, please submit as a PDF. Read the LaTeX guidelines.


Manuscripts can be any length. There are no restrictions on word count, number of figures, or amount of supporting information.

We encourage you to present and discuss your findings concisely.


Use a standard font size and any standard font, except for the font named “Symbol”. To add symbols to the manuscript, use the Insert → Symbol function in your word processor or paste in the appropriate Unicode character.


Limit manuscript sections and sub-sections to 3 heading levels. Make sure heading levels are clearly indicated in the manuscript text.

Layout and spacing

Manuscript text should be double-spaced.

Do not format text in multiple columns.

Page and line numbers

Include page numbers and line numbers in the manuscript file. Use continuous line numbers (do not restart the numbering on each page).


Footnotes are not permitted. If your manuscript contains footnotes, move the information into the main text or the reference list, depending on the content.


Manuscripts must be submitted in English. 

You may submit translations of the manuscript or abstract as supporting information. Read the supporting information guidelines.


Define abbreviations upon first appearance in the text.

Do not use non-standard abbreviations unless they appear at least three times in the text. List all non-standard abbreviations (with definitions) in alphabetical order in a separate section at the beginning of the manuscript.

Keep abbreviations to a minimum.

Reference style

PLOS uses “Vancouver” style, as outlined in the ICMJE sample references.

See reference formatting examples and additional instructions below.


We recommend using MathType for display and inline equations, as it will provide the most reliable outcome. If this is not possible, Equation Editor or Microsoft's Insert→Equation function is acceptable. Please do not embed equations as images.

Avoid using MathType, Equation Editor, or the Insert→Equation function to insert single variables (e.g., “a² + b² = c²”), Greek or other symbols (e.g., β, Δ, or ′ [prime]), or mathematical operators (e.g., x, ≥, or  ±) in running text. Wherever possible, insert single symbols as normal text with the correct Unicode (hex) values.

Do not use MathType, Equation Editor, or the Insert→Equation function for only a portion of an equation. Rather, ensure that the entire equation is included. Equations should not contain a mix of different equation tools. Avoid “hybrid” inline or display equations, in which part is text and part is MathType, or part is MathType and part is Equation Editor.


 Use correct and established nomenclature wherever possible.

Units of measurement Use SI units. If you do not use these exclusively, provide the SI value in parentheses after each value. Read more about SI units.
Drugs Provide the Recommended International Non-Proprietary Name (rINN).
Species names Write in italics (e.g., Homo sapiens). Write out in full the genus and species, both in the title of the manuscript and at the first mention of an organism in a paper. After first mention, the first letter of the genus name followed by the full species name may be used (e.g., H. sapiens).
Genes, mutations, genotypes, and alleles Write in italics. Use the recommended name by consulting the appropriate genetic nomenclature database (e.g., HGNC for human genes; we strongly recommend using this tool to check against previously approved names). It is sometimes advisable to indicate the synonyms for the gene the first time it appears in the text. Gene prefixes such as those used for oncogenes or cellular localization should be shown in roman typeface (e.g., v-fes, c-MYC).

The systematic allergen nomenclature of the World Health Organization/International Union of Immunological Societies (WHO/IUIS) Allergen Nomenclature Sub-committee should be used for manuscripts that include the description or use of allergenic proteins. For manuscripts describing new allergens, the systematic name of the allergen should be approved by the WHO/IUIS Allergen Nomenclature Sub-committee prior to manuscript publication. Examples of the systematic allergen nomenclature can be found at the WHO/IUIS Allergen Nomenclature site.

Parts of a Submission

Title page

Include a title page as the first page of the manuscript file with the title, authors, and affiliations.

Include a full title and a short title for the manuscript using the following format: 

  • Titles should be written in sentence case (only the first word of the text, proper nouns, and genus names are capitalized). 
  • Avoid specialist abbreviations if possible.
  • For clinical trials, systematic reviews, or meta-analyses, the subtitle should include the study design.
Title Length Guidelines Examples
Full title 250 characters Specific, descriptive, concise, and comprehensible to readers outside the field

Impact of cigarette smoke exposure on innate immunity: A Caenorhabditis elegans model

Solar drinking water disinfection (SODIS) to reduce childhood diarrhoea in rural Bolivia: A cluster-randomized, controlled trial
Short title 70 characters State the topic of the study

Cigarette smoke exposure and innate immunity

SODIS and childhood diarrhoea

Author list

Authorship requirements

All authors must meet the criteria for authorship as outlined in the authorship policy. Those who contributed to the work but do not meet the criteria for authorship can be mentioned in the Acknowledgments. Read more about Acknowledgments.

The corresponding author must provide an ORCID iD at the time of submission by entering it in the user profile in the submission system. Read more about ORCID.

Author names and affiliations

During initial submission, enter author names on the title page of the manuscript. If your manuscript is selected for peer review, you will also add author details to the submission system.

On the title page, write author names in the following order:

  • First name (or initials, if used)
  • Middle name (or initials, if used)
  • Last name (surname, family name)

Each author on the list must have an affiliation. The affiliation includes department, university, or organizational affiliation and its location, including city, state/province (if applicable), and country. Authors have the option to include a current address in addition to the address of their affiliation at the time of the study. The current address should be listed in the byline and clearly labeled “current address.” At a minimum, the address must include the author’s current institution, city, and country.

If an author has multiple affiliations, enter the full list of affiliations on the title page. In the submission system, enter only the preferred or primary affiliation. Author affiliations will be listed in the typeset PDF article in the same order that the authors are listed in the submission.

Author names will be published exactly as they appear on the manuscript title page. Please double-check the information carefully to make sure it is correct.

Corresponding authorship

Designate at least one corresponding author on the title page. Include an email address for each corresponding author listed on the title page of the manuscript.

We do not restrict the number of corresponding authors that may be listed on the article in the event of publication. Whoever is designated as a corresponding author on the title page of the manuscript file will be listed as such upon publication.

The corresponding author role may be transferred to another coauthor. However, note that transferring the corresponding author role also transfers access to the manuscript.

Will coauthors be notified about a submission?

The journal emails an authorship confirmation link to each author listed on a manuscript after the full submission is received.

The submitting author is responsible for providing coauthors with updates and information about the submission. Coauthors should contact the corresponding author for submission details. Read the full list of corresponding author responsibilities.

Consortia and group authorship

If a manuscript is submitted on behalf of a consortium or group, include the consortium or group name in the author list. The name should be listed in the manuscript file and included in the submission form. You may include the full list of members in the Acknowledgments or in a supporting information file.

PubMed only indexes individual consortium or group author members listed in the article byline. If included, these individuals must qualify for authorship according to our criteria.

Author contributions

You will enter all author contributions in the submission system if your manuscript is selected for peer review. Provide at minimum one contribution for each author, and use the CRediT taxonomy to describe each contribution. Read the policy and the full list of roles.

Contributions will be published with the final article, and they should accurately reflect contributions to the work. The submitting author is responsible for completing this information at submission, and we expect that all authors will have reviewed, discussed, and agreed to their individual contributions ahead of this time.

Cover letter

Upload a cover letter as a separate file in the submission system. The length limit is 600 words.

The cover letter should address the following questions:

  • What is the scientific question you are addressing?
  • What is the key finding that answers this question?
  • What is the nature of the evidence you provide in support of your conclusion?
  • What are the three most recently published articles that are relevant to this question?
  • What significance do your results have for the field?
  • What significance do your results have for the broader community (of biologists and/or the public)?
  • What other novel findings do you present?
  • Is there additional information that we should take into account?

You may enter requests to exclude specific reviewers from the evaluation process in the submission system. If you choose to enter opposed reviewers, please provide a reason for doing so. Please also read our policy about competing interests before submitting your inquiry.


The Abstract comes after the title page in the manuscript file.

The Abstract succinctly introduces the manuscript. It should mention the techniques used without going into methodological detail and mention the most important results.

The Abstract is conceptually divided into the following three sections: Background, Methodology/Principal Findings, and Conclusions/Significance. However, the Abstract should be written as a single paragraph without these headers.

Do not include any citations in the Abstract. Avoid specialist abbreviations.


The Introduction should put the focus of the manuscript into a broader context. As you compose the Introduction, think of readers who are not experts in this field. Include a brief review of the key literature. If there are relevant controversies or disagreements in the field, they should be mentioned so that a non-expert reader can delve into these issues further. The Introduction should conclude with a brief statement of the overall aim of the reported research and a comment about whether that aim was achieved.

Priority claims
Manuscripts should not include priority claims. For example, “the first demonstration of this” should be changed to “the first demonstration, to our knowledge, of this.”


The Results section should provide details of all of the experiments that are required to support the conclusions of the paper, including information on the number of replicates (if relevant to ensure replicability). There is no specific word limit for this section, but details of experiments that are peripheral to the main thrust of the article and that detract from the focus of the article should not be included. The section may be divided into subsections, each with a concise subheading. The Results section should be written in past tense.

PLOS journals require authors to make all data underlying the findings described in their manuscript fully available without restriction, with rare exception.

Large data sets, including raw data, may be deposited in an appropriate public repository. See our list of recommended repositories.

For smaller data sets and certain data types, authors may provide their data within supporting information files accompanying the manuscript. Authors should take care to maximize the accessibility and reusability of the data by selecting a file format from which data can be efficiently extracted (for example, spreadsheets or flat files should be provided rather than PDFs when providing tabulated data).

For more information on how best to provide data, read our policy on data availability. PLOS does not accept references to “data not shown.”


The Discussion should spell out the major conclusions and interpretations of the work including some explanation on the significance of these conclusions. How do the conclusions affect the existing assumptions and models in the field? How can future research build on these observations? What are the key experiments that must be done? The Discussion should be concise and tightly argued. If warranted, the Results and Discussion may be combined into one section.

Materials and Methods

The Materials and Methods should provide enough detail to reproduce the findings. Submit detailed protocols for newer or less established methods. Well-established protocols may be referenced. 

Details of algorithms and protocol documents for clinical trials, observational studies, and other non-laboratory investigations may be uploaded as supporting information. These are not included in the typeset manuscript, but are downloadable and fully searchable from the HTML version of the article. Read the supporting information guidelines for formatting instructions.

We recommend and encourage you to deposit laboratory protocols in, where protocols can be assigned their own persistent digital object identifiers (DOIs).

To include a link to a protocol in your article:

  1. Describe your step-by-step protocol on
  2. Select Get DOI to issue your protocol a persistent digital object identifier (DOI) 
  3. Include the DOI link in the Methods section of your manuscript using the following format provided by[PROTOCOL DOI]

At this stage, your protocol is only visible to those with the link. This allows editors and reviewers to consult your protocol when evaluating the manuscript. You can make your protocols public at any time by selecting Publish on the site. Any referenced protocol(s) will automatically be made public when your article is published.

PLOS ONE offers an option for publishing peer-reviewed Lab Protocol articles, which describe protocols hosted on articles. Read more information on Lab Protocol articles.


Those who contributed to the work but do not meet our authorship criteria should be listed in the Acknowledgments with a description of the contribution.

Authors are responsible for ensuring that anyone named in the Acknowledgments agrees to be named.

PLOS journals publicly acknowledge the indispensable efforts of our editors and reviewers on an annual basis. To ensure equitable recognition and avoid any appearance of partiality, do not include editors or peer reviewers—named or unnamed—in the Acknowledgments.

Do not include funding sources in the Acknowledgments or anywhere else in the manuscript file. Funding information should only be entered in the financial disclosure section of the submission system.


Any and all available works can be cited in the reference list. Acceptable sources include:

  • Published or accepted manuscripts
  • Manuscripts on preprint servers, providing the manuscript has a citable DOI or arXiv URL.

Do not cite the following sources in the reference list:

  • Unavailable and unpublished work, including manuscripts that have been submitted but not yet accepted (e.g., “unpublished work,” “data not shown”). Instead, include those data as supplementary material or deposit the data in a publicly available database.
  • Personal communications (these should be supported by a letter from the relevant authors but not included in the reference list)
  • Submitted research should not rely upon retracted research. You should avoid citing retracted articles unless you need to discuss retracted work to provide historical context for your submitted research. If it is necessary to discuss retracted work, state the article’s retracted status in your article’s text and reference list.

Ensure that your reference list includes full and current bibliography details for every cited work at the time of your article’s submission (and publication, if accepted). If cited work is corrected, retracted, or marked with an expression of concern before your article is published, and if you feel it is appropriate to cite the work even in light of the post-publication notice, include in your manuscript citations and full references for both the affected article and the post-publication notice. Email the journal office if you have questions.

References are listed at the end of the manuscript and numbered in the order that they appear in the text. In the text, cite the reference number in square brackets (e.g., “We used the techniques developed by our colleagues [19] to analyze the data”). PLOS uses the numbered citation (citation-sequence) method and first six authors, et al.

Do not include citations in abstracts. 

Make sure the parts of the manuscript are in the correct order before ordering the citations.

Formatting references

Because all references will be linked electronically as much as possible to the papers they cite, proper formatting of references is crucial. 

PLOS uses the reference style outlined by the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE), also referred to as the “Vancouver” style. Example formats are listed below. Additional examples are in the ICMJE sample references.

A reference management tool, EndNote, offers a current style file that can assist you with the formatting of your references. If you have problems with any reference management program, please contact the source company's technical support.

Journal name abbreviations should be those found in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) databases

Source Format
Published articles

Hou WR, Hou YL, Wu GF, Song Y, Su XL, Sun B, et al. cDNA, genomic sequence cloning and overexpression of ribosomal protein gene L9 (rpL9) of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Genet Mol Res. 2011;10: 1576-1588.

Devaraju P, Gulati R, Antony PT, Mithun CB, Negi VS. Susceptibility to SLE in South Indian Tamils may be influenced by genetic selection pressure on TLR2 and TLR9 genes. Mol Immunol. 2014 Nov 22. pii: S0161-5890(14)00313-7. doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2014.11.005.

Note: A DOI number for the full-text article is acceptable as an alternative to or in addition to traditional volume and page numbers. When providing a DOI, adhere to the format in the example above with both the label and full DOI included at the end of the reference (doi: 10.1016/j.molimm.2014.11.005). Do not provide a shortened DOI or the URL.
Accepted, unpublished articles Same as published articles, but substitute “Forthcoming” for page numbers or DOI.
Online articles

Huynen MMTE, Martens P, Hilderlink HBM. The health impacts of globalisation: a conceptual framework. Global Health. 2005;1: 14. Available from:


Bates B. Bargaining for life: A social history of tuberculosis. 1st ed. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press; 1992.

Book chapters Hansen B. New York City epidemics and history for the public. In: Harden VA, Risse GB, editors. AIDS and the historian. Bethesda: National Institutes of Health; 1991. pp. 21-28.
Deposited articles (preprints, e-prints, or arXiv)

Krick T, Shub DA, Verstraete N, Ferreiro DU, Alonso LG, Shub M, et al. Amino acid metabolism conflicts with protein diversity. arXiv:1403.3301v1 [Preprint]. 2014 [cited 2014 March 17]. Available from:​

Kording KP, Mensh B. Ten simple rules for structuring papers. BioRxiv [Preprint]. 2016 bioRxiv 088278 [posted 2016 Nov 28; revised 2016 Dec 14; revised 2016 Dec 15; cited 2017 Feb 9]: [12 p.]. Available from: doi: 10.1101/088278

Published media (print or online newspapers and magazine articles) Fountain H. For Already Vulnerable Penguins, Study Finds Climate Change Is Another Danger. The New York Times. 2014 Jan 29 [Cited 2014 March 17]. Available from:
New media (blogs, web sites, or other written works) Allen L. Announcing PLOS Blogs. 2010 Sep 1 [cited 17 March 2014]. In: PLOS Blogs [Internet]. San Francisco: PLOS 2006 - . [about 2 screens]. Available from:
Masters' theses or doctoral dissertations Wells A. Exploring the development of the independent, electronic, scholarly journal. M.Sc. Thesis, The University of Sheffield. 1999. Available from:
Databases and repositories (Figshare, arXiv) Roberts SB. QPX Genome Browser Feature Tracks; 2013 [cited 2013 Oct 5]. Database: figshare [Internet]. Available from:
Multimedia (videos, movies, or TV shows) Hitchcock A, producer and director. Rear Window [Film]; 1954. Los Angeles: MGM.

Supporting Information

Authors can submit essential supporting files and multimedia files that are auxiliary to the main content of the article. All Supporting Information will be subject to peer review. These files are published exactly as provided and are not copyedited.

List supporting information captions at the end of the manuscript file. Do not submit captions in a separate file. 

Read the Supporting Information guidelines for further technical and formatting guidance.


Prepare and upload each figure to the submission system as an individual file. Do not include figures in the main manuscript file.

Insert your figure captions in ascending numerical order after their citations in the manuscript.

Avoiding image manipulation

As part of our efforts to improve published figure quality, we routinely and thoroughly check all main and supporting figures for all papers editorially accepted for publication in PLOS Biology. In doing so, we not only ensure that all figure files meet our requirements for publication and are available to publish under our CC BY license, but also that we remain vigilant to inappropriate image manipulation of photographic images.

Image files should not be manipulated or adjusted in any way that could lead to misinterpretation of the information present in the original image. Please make sure to read our guidelines on Preparing Figures from Image Files and our figure guidelines.

Please also read our requirements for reporting blot and gel data and uploading original image files.

If evidence is found of inappropriate manipulation, we reserve the right to ask for your original photographic images in the original file format, at higher resolution or at the resolution at which they were first created, so that we can efficiently and accurately check all figures. If that is not satisfactory, we may decide not to accept the manuscript, and may also contact the authors' institutions to ask them to assist with investigation.

If you ever need to email files to the journal office, our system has a 10 MB attachment limit, meaning that we will not receive any emails larger than this size. If your files are larger than 10 MB, please either send them one email at a time, or look into reducing the size of the files. If you are having problems sending us large files, please contact the journal office for details of how we can help you transfer your files.


Cite tables in ascending numeric order upon first appearance in the manuscript file.

Place each table in your manuscript file directly after the paragraph in which it is first cited (read order). Do not embed your tables as images or submit them in separate files.

Tables require a label (e.g., “Table 1”) and brief descriptive title to be placed above the table. Place legends, footnotes, and other text below the table.

Read the table guidelines for detailed formatting instructions and requirements.

Data presentation in graphs 

To better illustrate your results and to improve the reader's understanding and interpretation of your data, we discourage the use of bar graphs and line plots for continuous data, particularly for studies with small sample sizes (n≤9 independent observations per group).

See this Perspective for more information about our position on data presentation in graphs: 
Weissgerber TL, Milic NM, Winham SJ, Garovic VD (2015) Beyond Bar and Line Graphs: Time for a New Data Presentation Paradigm. PLoS Biol 13(4): e1002128.
  • We recommend that continuous data is presented in such a way that the reader can evaluate the distribution of the individual data points. Scatterplots, boxplots, and histograms are more informative than bar or line charts.

  • If there is a particular reason that bar or line graphs are preferred, these must include inferential error bars: 
    SD - standard deviation of the population, or CI - confidence intervals. 

  • Paired or non-independent data should be presented to include information about whether changes are consistent across individuals.

  • Figures presenting small sample size data (n≤9 independent observations per group) should show the full distribution of the data, as opposed to summary statistics.

  • All numerical values used to generate graphs must be provided as per the PLOS Data Availability policy.

For more information about our Data Availability policy, see this Editorial:
Bloom T, Ganley E, Winker M (2014) Data Access for the Open Access Literature: PLOS's Data Policy. PLoS Biol 12(2): e1001797.

Data reporting

All data and related metadata underlying the findings reported in a submitted manuscript should be deposited in an appropriate public repository, unless already provided as part of the submitted article.

See here for instructions on providing underlying data to support blot and gel results.

Repositories may be either subject-specific (where these exist) and accept specific types of structured data, or generalist repositories that accept multiple data types. We recommend that authors select repositories appropriate to their field. Repositories may be subject-specific (e.g., GenBank for sequences and PDB for structures), general, or institutional, as long as DOIs or accession numbers are provided and the data are at least as open as CC BY. Authors are encouraged to select repositories that meet accepted criteria as trustworthy digital repositories, such as criteria of the Centre for Research Libraries or Data Seal of Approval. Large, international databases are more likely to persist than small, local ones.

To support data sharing and author compliance of the PLOS data policy, we have integrated our submission process with a select set of data repositories. The list is neither representative nor exhaustive of the suitable repositories available to authors. Current repository integration partners include Dryad and FlowRepository. Please contact to make recommendations for further partnerships.

Instructions for PLOS submissions with data deposited in an integration partner repository:

  • Deposit data in the integrated repository of choice.
  • Once deposition is final and complete, the repository will provide you with a dataset DOI (provisional) and private URL for reviewers to gain access to the data. Insert these details into the Data Availability section of the submission system.

If you have any questions, please email us.

Accession numbers

All appropriate data sets, images, and information should be deposited in an appropriate public repository. See our list of recommended repositories.

Accession numbers (and version numbers, if appropriate) should be provided in the Data Availability Statement. Accession numbers or a citation to the DOI should also be provided when the data set is mentioned within the manuscript.

In some cases authors may not be able to obtain accession numbers of DOIs until the manuscript is accepted; in these cases, the authors must provide these numbers at acceptance. In all other cases, these numbers must be provided at full submission.


As much as possible, please provide accession numbers or identifiers for all entities such as genes, proteins, mutants, diseases, etc., for which there is an entry in a public database, for example:

Identifiers should be provided in parentheses after the entity on first use.

Research Resource Identifiers

Research Resource Identifiers are unique Resource Identifiers (RRIDs) for citing resources used in the research. We encourage authors to use RRIDs within the text of their papers to identify their model organisms, antibodies, or tools.

PLOS is a part of the Research Resource Identification Initiative (#RII), a cross-publisher effort to enable effective tracking of the utilization of particular research resources across all biomedical literature and promote reproducibility in science. RRIDs are found via the RRID portal.

If an RRID does not exist, you may create a new one as needed through the RRID Portal. The Research Resource Citation guidelines provide instructions on how to cite the resource in the manuscript.

Small and macromolecule crystal data

Manuscripts reporting new and unpublished three-dimensional structures must include sufficient supporting data and detailed descriptions of the methodologies used to allow the reproduction and validation of the structures. All novel structures must have been deposited in a community endorsed database prior to submission (please see our list of recommended repositories).

Small molecule single crystal data

Authors reporting X-Ray crystallographic structures of small organic, metal-organic, and inorganic molecules must deposit their data with the Cambridge Crystallographic Data Centre (CCDC), the Inorganic Crystal Structure Database (ICSD), or similar community databases providing a recognized validation functionality. Authors are also required to include the relevant structure reference numbers within the main text (e.g. the CCDC ID number), as well as the crystallographic information files (.cif format) as Supplementary Information, along with the checkCIF validation reports that can be obtained via the International Union of Crystallography (IUCr).

Macromolecular structures

Authors reporting novel macromolecular structures must have deposited their data prior to submission with the Worldwide Protein Data Bank (wwPDB), the Biological Magnetic Resonance Data Bank (BMRB), the Electron Microscopy Data Bank (EMDB), or other community databases providing a recognized validation functionality. Authors must include the structure reference numbers within the main text and submit as Supplementary Information the official validation reports from these databases.

Striking image

You can choose to upload a “Striking Image” that we may use to represent your article online in places such as the journal homepage. All striking image files that are submitted are also eligible to be chosen as the monthly Issue Image, which is chosen by the editorial staff.

The striking image should visually represent the article in a striking and eye-catching way. This could be derived from a figure or supporting information file from the paper, i.e., a cropped portion of an image or the entire image. Alternatively, you may create or source an image which represents the article, as long as this image adheres to our CC BY license.

Striking images should ideally be high resolution, eye-catching, single panel images, and should ideally avoid containing added details such as text, scale bars, and arrows.

Striking images should not contain potentially identifying images of people. Read our policy on identifying informationThe PLOS licenses and copyright policy also applies to striking images.

Should your manuscript be accepted for publication, you will be asked to provide a caption describing the image and a full image credit that details who should be credited with the creation of the image. We are unable to use striking image files that do not include an accompanying caption and credit.

If no striking image is uploaded, the journal team will choose an appropriate image, which may be a figure from the submission or a separately sourced CC BY image.

Funding Disclosure

Declare any funding received for this study including details such as funder name, grant numbers, and the funder’s website in the submission system.

To see what must be declared, view our financial disclosure policy.

Competing Interests

In the submission system, declare on behalf of all authors whether there are any financial, personal, or professional interests that could be construed to have influenced the work.

Any relevant competing interests of authors must be available to editors and reviewers during the review process and will be stated in published articles.

Related Manuscripts

When submitting a manuscript, all authors are asked to indicate that they do not have a related or duplicate manuscript under consideration (or accepted) for publication elsewhere. If related work has been or will be submitted elsewhere or is in press elsewhere, then a copy must be uploaded with the article submitted to PLOS. Reviewers will be asked to comment on the overlap between related submissions.

PLOS supports authors who wish to share their work early and receive feedback before formal peer review. Deposition of manuscripts with preprint servers does not impact consideration of the manuscript at any PLOS journal.

Read our policies on related manuscripts.


PLOS encourages authors to post preprints to accelerate the dissemination of research and support authors who wish to share their work early and receive feedback before formal peer review. Deposition of manuscripts with preprint servers does not impact consideration of the manuscript at any PLOS journal.

Authors choosing bioRxiv may concurrently submit directly to PLOS journals through bioRxiv’s direct transfer to journal service.

Authors submitting manuscripts in the life sciences to PLOS Biology may opt-in to post their work on bioRxiv during the PLOS Biology full submission process.

Preregistered Research Articles

Preregistered Research Articles are a form of empirical article offered at PLOS Biology in which the methods and proposed analyses are peer reviewed prior to conducting experiments, data collection or analysis. High quality protocols are reviewed for technical soundness of the proposed methodology, and provisionally accepted for publication before data collection commences. 

This format of article is designed to minimize publication and research bias, while also maximising study quality by focusing peer review on the importance of the research question and rigour of the proposed methodology. It also allows complete flexibility to conduct exploratory (unregistered) analyses and report serendipitous findings. 

Preregistered Research Articles are offered across the full scope of empirical research at PLOS Biology.

Other Article Types

If you are submitting content other than a research article, read the guidelines for other article types.

PLOS Community Action Publishing (CAP) – non member fee support

PLOS Biology no longer has APCs, and instead is funded by a new collective action model called PLOS Community Action Publishing (CAP). Institutions pay to become community members so their authors are not subject to fees. Corresponding and contributing authors from non-member institutions are subject to non-member fees.

To find out if your institution is a PLOS Biology CAP member, please visit our institutional partner page and search by your institutional name or by the agreement type “Community Action Publishing.”

If the corresponding author’s institution is a member, they will be notified at acceptance that no fees are required. If the corresponding author’s instution is not a member, they will be subject to a non-member fee. If the non-member corresponding author’s coauthors belong to member institutions, there is a 25% discount on the non-member fee. Be sure to check if your contributing authors’ institutions are members to take advantage of this discount.