Editorial and Peer Review Process
PLOS Computational Biology is a peer reviewed scientific journal with a rigorous editorial screening and assessment process made up of several stages.
PLOS Computational Biology considers research articles and commentary that further our understanding of living systems at all scales—from molecules and cells, to patient populations and ecosystems—through the application of computational methods. The editors make submission decisions based on significance, originality, rigorous methodology, and substantial evidence.
All authors, editors, and reviewers are expected to reply to journal queries in a timely manner, and to comply with PLOS’ Code of Conduct for Editorial Board Members and Standards for Professional Conduct. Any concerns about the content of correspondence or reviews should be raised to the attention of journal staff by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
|Checking the status of your manuscript
The corresponding author can check the status of a submitted manuscript at anytime in our submission system.
Understanding Manuscript Statuses
|The journal has received the submission and is conducting an initial editorial assessment and screening for technical requirements.
|The manuscript has been placed with a member of the editorial board for handling.
|The handling editor has invited peer reviewers to evaluate the submission.
|Required reviews complete
|Some or all assigned reviewers have submitted comments.
|Decision in process
|The handling editor has drafted a decision, but it has not yet been finalized or sent to the authors.
Initial quality checks are performed to identify potential issues such as:
Submissions may be returned to authors for changes or clarifications at this stage.
After completing internal checks, each new submission is assigned to a Deputy Editor or one of the Editors-in-Chief. This senior editor reviews the manuscript against our publication criteria and determines whether to reject or send it on to an Associate Editor for further review. The Associate Editor is usually a member of the PLOS Computational Biology Editorial Board, but occasionally a Guest Editor is invited to serve instead.
The Associate Editor evaluates the manuscript and decides whether it describes a sufficient body of work to support a major advance in its particular field. If so, the editor may consult with external peer reviewers with expertise in the area of the study in order to assess the technical and scientific merits of the work.
During the submission process you’ll be asked to indicate any specific editors or reviewers who should not review your manuscript. We will respect your request so long as it does not interfere with the objective and thorough assessment of the submission.
We decide on reviewers for a particular manuscript based on many factors, including expertise, reputation, specific recommendations of authors and editors, and the editor’s own knowledge of a reviewer’s past performance.
After agreeing to review, external peer reviewers typically have 10 to 14 days to submit their review. The journal office will follow up with late reviewers and keep you informed if there are any delays.
PLOS Computational Biology uses single-anonymized peer review. Reviewers remain anonymous unless they choose to identify themselves by signing their name to their review in our submission system.
The editors consider reviewer feedback and their own evaluation of the manuscript in order to reach a decision. The following decision types are available:
Decisions are communicated to the corresponding author in a formal letter, along with reviewer feedback and any other requirements from the journal office.
If the editors feel that your manuscript has the potential to be published, but requires changes, you’ll be invited to revise it. You’ll have 60 days to submit your manuscript after a major revision, and 30 days for a minor revision.
PLOS Computational Biology uses two levels of accept decision. When the handling editor is satisfied with the scientific aspects of the manuscript they’ll issue an editorial accept decision. This is a provisional acceptance, pending final checks for formatting and technical requirements. Once the final requirements are fulfilled, the journal office will send a formal accept decision, and your manuscript will move on to production.
PLOS offers accepted authors the opportunity to publish the peer review history of their manuscript alongside the final article. The peer review history package includes the complete editorial decision letter for each revision, with reviews, and your responses to reviewer comments, including attachments. If the peer reviewers have chosen to sign their reviews, their names will also appear.
If your submission is accepted for publication, you’ll be invited to opt-in to publish the peer review history of your manuscript using a form in our submission system.
Sharing peer review history enriches the scientific record, increases transparency and accountability, and helps to reinforce the validity of your research by displaying the thoroughness of the peer review process it has undergone.
The journal reserves the right not to publish peer review history in special cases, for example, due to an ethical consideration, such as the inclusion of information about a vulnerable population.
Authors can request that original research submissions (with reviewer reports, if relevant) rejected from one PLOS journal be transferred to another PLOS journal for further consideration there. Manuscripts will never be transferred between the journals without an author’s consent.
If, after peer review, the editors consider that a manuscript is scientifically sound, but does not meet PLOS Computational Biology’s criteria for novelty and impact, authors may be offered the opportunity to transfer their submission to another PLOS journal along with any accompanying reviewer reports.
We trust that reviewers for any PLOS journal are willing to have their reviews considered by the editors of another PLOS journal.
PLOS Computational Biology encourages input from all community members regarding editorial and publishing policy. However, appeals of manuscript decisions must be:
We do not consider appeals by telephone or other informal means.
Appeals will only be considered when a reviewer or editor is thought to have made a significant factual error or when their objectivity is compromised by a documented competing interest, and when a reversal based on either of these grounds would change the original decision. The journal staff will ask for confirmation of the reason(s) in the first instance.
If the authors proceed, the original editor(s) will usually be asked to consider the appeal. Additional editorial board members may also be consulted. The editors will try to handle an appeal expeditiously; however, each appeal is unique and the journal cannot guarantee the turnaround time or the outcome.
Appeals of decisions made before review will only be considered in exceptional circumstances. Appeals of decisions noted as final will not be considered.
If you have questions at any stage in the process, please email us.