Presubmission Inquiries

It is recommended that authors submit a presubmission inquiry before submitting a full paper. Presubmission inquiries allow authors to quickly find out whether their paper is likely to be broadly suitable for PLOS Medicine.

To submit a presubmission inquiry please log on or register at our online submission site. Click the link “Submit New Manuscript” and select “Presubmission Inquiry.” You will need to enter an abstract (the research article study abstract or a brief description of the work for magazine content) and a cover letter with references explaining why you think the work is appropriate for PLOS Medicine. For presubmission inquiries related to articles with very long author lists, full lists of coauthors and institutions may be included in the cover letter rather than the presubmission inquiry form. Full submissions always require the full author list in the submission form.

The title should be a clear description of the paper's content. For randomized controlled trials, systematic reviews/meta-analyses, and often other types of studies, the subtitle should include the study design.

For research article presubmissions, the abstract should be divided into sections: Background, Methods and Findings, Conclusions. It should contain all of the following elements, except for items in square brackets, which are only needed for some study types.

For other article types please just submit a short summary paragraph or bullet points.


This section should describe clearly the rationale for the study. The final sentence should state the specific study hypothesis and/or study objectives.

Methods and Findings

  • Describe the study participants or what was studied (e.g., patient population, cell lines; be as specific as possible, including numbers studied).
  • Describe the study design, intervention if applicable, main methods used, primary outcome measure(s), and length of follow up if applicable.
  • Describe what was primarily being assessed e.g. primary outcome measure and, if appropriate, over what period.
  • [If appropriate, include how many participants were assessed out of those enrolled. For survey research research, include the response rate.]
  • [If critical to the understanding of the paper, describe how results were analyzed, i.e., which specific statistical tests were used.]
  • For the main outcomes provide a numerical result if appropriate (it nearly always is) and a measure of its precision (e.g. 95% confidence interval).
  • Describe any adverse events.
  • Describe the main limitations of the study.


  • Provide a general interpretation of the results with any implications supported by the research and important recommendations for future research.
  • [For a clinical trial provide any trial identification numbers and names (e.g., trial registration number, protocol number or acronym).]
Response time

Our median time from presubmission inquiry to decision is 3 calendar days. However, if you do not receive a response in 1 week please contact us.