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Other Article Types

The PLOS Medicine Magazine is for commentary, debate, analysis, guidance, and review of topics in health and health research. Articles are a mix of commissioned and unsolicited material.

Magazine articles should be aimed at a general medical audience, and all of the key assertions should be supported by evidence. Three to five short, bulleted summary points are required, in place of an abstract. Titles should not include jargon, cliché, or idioms (e.g., “Mind the gap,” “Think outside the box,” “Apples and oranges,” or “Paradigm shift”).

The PLOS Medicine Magazine has the following sections:

Collection Overviews

PLOS Medicine considers Collection Overview articles within pre-planned Collections. Collection Overviews discuss the relevant history and scientific background of a Collection, and unlike Collection Reviews, they are not intended as an exhaustive summary of a particular topic, but rather aim to place the articles included in the Collection within the context of knowledge in the field.

Collection Overviews should be concise, with suitable referencing, and provide the appropriate context for the publications in the Collection.

Collection Overviews will be considered subject to prior approval by journal editors, or they may be commissioned by staff editors from the Guest Editor(s) of a Collection. PLOS Medicine staff editors do not consider unsolicited Collection Overviews.


Editorials are written or commissioned by the PLOS Medicine editors and published monthly.


Perspective articles are often commissioned by the editors, and allow an expert or experts the opportunity to discuss clinical practice or public health implications of an open access study, usually one published in PLOS Medicine.

The editors will also consider Perspective articles discussing timely clinical or health topics, or research studies published elsewhere. The editors ask that authors do not principally aim to discuss their own work.

Perspective articles are up to 1000 words in length, with no more than 12 references and, if needed, a single display item (table, figure, or box).

Example Perspectives

Basu S, Madsen K (2017) Effectiveness and equity of sugar-sweetened beverage taxation. PLoS Med 14(6): e1002327.

Myers JE, Johnstone ED (2016) Is There Evidence of Poorer Birth Outcomes for Mothers and Babies When the Most Senior Obstetrician Is Not On Site? PLoS Med 13(4): e1002001.

Miller E, John TJ (2016) Sailing in Uncharted Waters: Carefully Navigating the Polio Endgame. PLoS Med 13(10): e1002141. 

Policy Forum

This section is for authors to discuss health issues that have policy implications. We are particularly keen to feature articles by health policymakers that discuss the challenges and opportunities in improving health care for their constituencies. Articles should not exceed 2000 words and may cite up to 30 references.

If you are discussing a particular health policy proposal, first provide the background (why is a particular policy needed?), then outline your proposal and the evidence that supports it, and then describe the challenges that lie ahead in its implementation. The use of display items (tables, figures, boxes) is encouraged. Please keep in mind how others might learn from your experiences. 

Example Policy Forums

Kesselheim AS, Treasure CL, Joffe S (2017) Biomarker-Defined Subsets of Common Diseases: Policy and Economic Implications of Orphan Drug Act Coverage. PLoS Med 14(1): e1002190.

Gostin LO, Tomori O, Wibulpolprasert S, Jha AK, Frenk J, Moon S, et al. (2016) Toward a Common Secure Future: Four Global Commissions in the Wake of Ebola. PLoS Med 13(5): e1002042.

Sharma M, Barnabas RV, Celum C (2017) Community-based strategies to strengthen men’s engagement in the HIV care cascade in sub-Saharan Africa. PLoS Med 14(4): e1002262.​

Guidelines and Guidance

The Guidelines and Guidance section contains advice on conducting and reporting research. Articles may raise awareness of emerging methods in biomedical research, announce a new reporting standard or consensus-type statement, or provide a “how to” guide about statistics, study design, or other methodological issues.

More Information

The PLoS Medicine Editors (2008) Better Reporting, Better Research: Guidelines and Guidance in PLoS Medicine. PLoS Med 5(4): e99.

It is important that your full article provide details about the method by which the group achieve consensus about the guidelines or guidance you are reporting. The following must be explicitly detailed in Guidelines and Guidance articles:

  • How the panel/experts were selected (as this is an obvious and potential major source of bias, for example)
  • How many potential participants declined/failed to participate
  • How the workshop was conducted and, crucially, how agreement was reached re the various recommendations
  • How the panel ensured dissenting views were aired and considered
  • Unresolved issues
  • A frank discussion of the strengths and limitations of the processes used.

Articles should not exceed 3000 words and may cite up to 30 references. If you have written a longer paper, please prepare a 3000-word summary and then upload the long version as a Supporting Information file.

Example Guidelines and Guidance

Vernooij RWM, Alonso-Coello P, Brouwers M, Martínez García L, CheckUp Panel (2017) Reporting Items for Updated Clinical Guidelines: Checklist for the Reporting of Updated Guidelines (CheckUp). PLoS Med 14(1): e1002207.

Kirkham JJ, Gorst S, Altman DG, Blazeby JM, Clarke M, Devane D, et al. (2016) Core Outcome Set–STAndards for Reporting: The COS-STAR Statement. PLoS Med 13(10): e1002148.

Lachat C, Hawwash D, Ocké MC, Berg C, Forsum E, Hörnell A, et al. (2016) Strengthening the Reporting of Observational Studies in Epidemiology—Nutritional Epidemiology (STROBE-nut): An Extension of the STROBE Statement. PLoS Med 13(6): e1002036.


Post-Publication Notices

PLOS publishes Corrections, Expressions of Concern, and Retraction notices, as needed, to address issues that arise after a PLOS article has been published.