PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases publishes original research articles of importance to the NTDs community and the wider health community. We will consider manuscripts of any length; we encourage the submission of both substantial full-length bodies of work and shorter manuscripts that report novel findings that might be based on a more limited range of experiments.
The writing style should be concise and accessible, avoiding jargon so that the paper is understandable for readers outside a specialty or those whose first language is not English. Editors will make suggestions for how to achieve this, as well as suggestions for cuts or additions that could be made to the article to strengthen the argument. Our aim is to make the editorial process rigorous and consistent, but not intrusive or overbearing. Authors are encouraged to use their own voice and to decide how best to present their ideas, results, and conclusions.
Manuscript files can be in the following formats: DOC, DOCX, RTF or PDF. Microsoft Word documents should not be locked or protected.
LaTeX manuscripts must be submitted as PDFs. Read the LaTeX guidelines.
|Manuscripts can be any length. There are no restrictions on word count, number of figures, or amount of supporting information.
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.|
Manuscript text should be double-spaced.
Do not format text in multiple columns.
|Include page numbers and line numbers in the manuscript file. Use continuous line numbers (do not restart the numbering on each page).|
Insert tables immediately after the first paragraph in which they are cited.
|Upload Supporting Information (SI) files separately.|
|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.
Keep abbreviations to a minimum.
PLOS uses “Vancouver” style, as outlined in the ICMJE sample references.
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.
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.
Prior to submission, authors who believe their manuscripts would benefit from in-depth professional copyediting are encouraged to use language-editing and copyediting services. Obtaining this service is the responsibility of the author and should be done before initial submission. These services can be found on the web using search terms like “scientific editing service” or “manuscript editing service”.
Note that if your manuscript is accepted, PLOS will not perform a detailed copyediting step. Therefore, please carefully review your manuscript, paying special attention to spelling, punctuation, and grammar, as well as scientific content.
Most manuscripts should be organized as follows. Instructions for each element appear below.
- Authors and Affiliations
- Author Summary
- Supporting information Captions
Uniformity in format facilitates the experience of readers and users of the journal. To provide flexibility, however, the Results and Discussion can be combined into one Results/Discussion section.
Refer to our downloadable sample files to ensure that your submission meets our formatting requirements:
Ready to format your provisionally accepted manuscript?
Refer to our downloadable sample files to ensure that your submission meets our formatting requirements:
The compiled submission PDF includes low-resolution preview images of the figures after the reference list. The function of these previews is to allow you to download the entire submission as quickly as possible. Click the link at the top of each preview page to download a high-resolution version of each figure. Links to download Supporting Information files are also available after the reference list.
Include a full title and a short title for the manuscript.
|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 modelSolar 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 immunitySODIS and childhood diarrhoea
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.
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
Enter author names on the title page of the manuscript and in the online 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 all affiliations on the title page only. 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 authors are listed in the submission.
The submitting author is automatically designated as the corresponding author in the submission system. The corresponding author is the primary contact for the journal office and the only author able to view or change the manuscript while it is under editorial consideration.
The corresponding author role may be transferred to another coauthor. However, note that transferring the corresponding author role also transfers access to the manuscript. (To designate a new corresponding author while the manuscript is still under consideration, watch the video tutorial below.)
Only one corresponding author can be designated in the submission system, but this does 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. Include an email address for each corresponding author listed on the title page of the manuscript.
If a manuscript is submitted on behalf of a consortium or group, include its name in the manuscript byline. Do not add it to the author list in the submission system. 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.
Provide at minimum one contribution for each author in the submission system. 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.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases will contact all authors by email at submission to ensure that they are aware of the submission.
Upload a cover letter as a separate file in the online system.
The cover letter should address the following questions:
- Why is this manuscript suitable for publication in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases?
- Why will your study inspire the NTDs community, and how will it drive the understanding of NTD pathobiology, epidemiology, prevention, treatment, control, or policy?
The cover letter will only be available to the editor and the journal staff.
The title, authors, and affiliations should all be included on a title page as the first page of the manuscript file.
The Abstract comes after the title page in the manuscript file. The abstract text is also entered in a separate field in the submission system.
The Abstract should be succinct; it must not exceed 250–300 words. Authors should mention the techniques used without going into methodological detail and summarize the most important results with important numerical results given.
The Abstract is conceptually divided into the following three sections with these headings: Background, Methodology/Principal Findings, and Conclusions/Significance.
Do not include any citations. Avoid specialist abbreviations.
We ask that all authors of research articles include a 150-200 word non-technical summary of the work, immediately following the Abstract. Subject to editorial review and author revision, this short text is published with all research articles as a highlighted text box.
Distinct from the scientific abstract, the Author Summary should highlight where the work fits in a broader context of life science knowledge and why these findings are important to an audience that includes both scientists and non-scientists. Ideally aimed to a level of understanding of an undergraduate student, the significance of the work should be presented simply, objectively, and without exaggeration.
Authors should avoid the use of acronyms and complex scientific terms and write the author summary using the first-person voice. Authors may benefit from consulting with a science writer or press officer to ensure that they effectively communicate their findings to a general audience.
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 experiments and a comment about whether that aim was achieved.
This section should provide enough detail for reproduction of the findings. Protocols for new methods should be included, but well-established protocols may simply be referenced. Detailed methodology or supporting information relevant to the methodology can be published on our web site.
This section should also include a section with descriptions of any statistical methods employed. These should conform to the criteria outlined by the Uniform Requirements, as follows:
Submit detailed protocols for newer or less established methods. Well-established protocols may simply be referenced. Protocol documents for clinical trials, observational studies, and other non-laboratory investigations may be uploaded as supporting information.
We recommend and encourage you to deposit laboratory protocols in protocols.io, where protocols can be assigned their own persistent digital object identifiers (DOIs).
To include a link to a protocol in your article:
- Describe your step-by-step protocol on protocols.io
- Select Get DOI to issue your protocol a persistent digital object identifier (DOI)
- Include the DOI link in the Methods section of your manuscript using the following format provided by protocols.io: http://dx.doi.org/10.17504/protocols.io.[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 protocols.io 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 protocols.io articles. Read more information on Lab Protocol articles.
The Results section should include all relevant positive and negative findings. 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.”
As outlined in the Uniform Requirements, authors that present statistical data in the Results section should do the following:
The Discussion should be concise and tightly argued. It should start with a brief summary of the main findings. It should include paragraphs on the generalizability, clinical relevance, strengths, and limitations of your study.
You may wish to discuss the following points also:
- How do the conclusions affect the existing knowledge in the field?
- How can future research build on these observations and what are the key experiments that must be done?
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.
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  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.
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.
Journal name abbreviations should be those found in the National Center for Biotechnology Information (NCBI) databases.
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.|
Huynen MMTE, Martens P, Hilderlink HBM. The health impacts of globalisation: a conceptual framework. Global Health. 2005;1: 14. Available from: http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/content/1/1/14
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: https://126.96.36.199/abs/1403.3301v1
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: https://www.biorxiv.org/content/10.1101/088278v5 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: http://www.nytimes.com/2014/01/30/science/earth/climate-change-taking-toll-on-penguins-study-finds.html|
|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: http://blogs.plos.org/plos/2010/09/announcing-plos-blogs/.|
|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: http://cumincad.scix.net/cgi-bin/works/Show?2e09|
|Databases and repositories (Figshare, arXiv)||Roberts SB. QPX Genome Browser Feature Tracks; 2013 [cited 2013 Oct 5]. Database: figshare [Internet]. Available from: http://figshare.com/articles/QPX_Genome_Browser_Feature_Tracks/701214|
|Multimedia (videos, movies, or TV shows)||Hitchcock A, producer and director. Rear Window [Film]; 1954. Los Angeles: MGM.|
Authors can submit essential supporting files and multimedia files along with their manuscripts. All supporting information will be subject to peer review. All file types can be submitted, but files must be smaller than 20 MB in size.
Authors may use almost any description as the item name for a supporting information file as long as it contains an “S” and number. For example, “S1 Appendix” and “S2 Appendix,” “S1 Table” and “S2 Table,” and so forth.
Supporting information files are published exactly as provided, and are not copyedited.
Supporting information captions
List supporting information captions at the end of the manuscript file. Do not submit captions in a separate file.
The file number and name are required in a caption, and we highly recommend including a one-line title as well. You may also include a legend in your caption, but it is not required.
S1 Text. Title is strongly recommended. Legend is optional.
We recommend that you cite supporting information in the manuscript text, but this is not a requirement. If you cite supporting information in the text, citations do not need to be in numerical order.
You can include figures in the main manuscript file at initial submission. If the manuscript reaches the revise stage, prepare and submit each figure as an individual file.
Cite figures in ascending numeric order at first appearance in the manuscript file.
Insert figure captions in manuscript text, immediately following the paragraph where the figure is first cited (read order). Don’t include captions as part of the figure files themselves or submit them in a separate document.
At a minimum, include the following in your figure captions:
- A figure label with Arabic numerals, and “Figure” abbreviated to “Fig” (e.g. Fig 1, Fig 2, Fig 3, etc). Match the label of your figure with the name of the file uploaded at submission (e.g. a figure citation of “Fig 1” must refer to a figure file named “Fig1.tif”).
- A concise, descriptive title
The caption may also include a legend as needed.
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 submit your tables 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.
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.
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 email@example.com 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.
- Enter the given data DOI into the full Data Availability Statement, which is requested in the Additional Information section of the PLOS submission form. Then provide the URL passcode in the Attach Files section.
If you have any questions, please email us.
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:
- Entrez Gene
- Mouse Genome Database (MGD)
- Online Mendelian Inheritance in Man (OMIM)
Identifiers should be provided in parentheses after the entity on first use.
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).
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.
You can upload a visually striking image alongside your submission, which we may use to showcase your article through PLOS’ online channels. We choose the monthly issue image from the striking images submitted with articles scheduled for publication.
- Choose an image that represents the article in a striking and eye-catching way.
- It can be derived from a figure or supporting information file from the paper, and it may be a cropped portion of an image or the entire image.
- Alternatively, you can create or source an image, as long as it adheres to our CC BY license.
- High resolution: between 300-600 dpi
- Single panel
- Ideally avoid added details like text, scale bars, and arrows.
How to Submit
- Submit your striking image to the submission system using the file type “Striking Image”.
- Upload a separate file with the corresponding caption.
If no striking image is uploaded, a member of the journal team will choose an appropriate image, which may be a figure from the submission or a separately sourced CC BY image.
This information should describe sources of funding that have supported the work. If your manuscript is published, your statement will appear in the Funding section of the article.
Include your statement in the Financial Disclosure section of the initial submission form.
The statement should include:
- Specific grant numbers
- Initials of authors who received each award
- URLs to sponsors’ websites
Also state whether any sponsors or funders (other than the named authors) played any role in:
- Study design
- Data collection and analysis
- Decision to publish
- Preparation of the manuscript
If they had no role in the research, include this sentence: “The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript.”
If the study was unfunded, include this sentence as the Financial Disclosure statement: “The author(s) received no specific funding for this work."
The corresponding author is asked at submission to 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.
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 encourages authors to post preprints to accelerate the dissemination of research. Posting a manuscript on a preprint server does not impact consideration of the manuscript at any PLOS journal.
Authors submitting manuscripts in the life and health sciences to PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases may choose to have PLOS forward their submission to bioRxiv or medRxiv, depending on the scope of the paper, for consideration for posting as a preprint.
We ask authors to suggest suitable editors and at least four potential reviewers when submitting their manuscript. Bear in mind any potential competing interests when making these suggestions. It is not appropriate to suggest recent collaborators or other researchers at your institution. See our policy on competing interests for more information.
Study design, reporting, and analyses are assessed against all relevant research and methodological technique standards held by the community. Guidelines for specific study types are outlined below.
All research involving humans and animals must have been approved by the authors' institutional review board or equivalent committee(s), and that board must be named by the authors in the manuscript. For research involving human participants, informed consent must have been obtained (or the reason for lack of consent explained, e.g. the data were analyzed anonymously) and all clinical investigation must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. It must be stated in the Methods section of the paper whether informed consent was written or oral. If informed consent was oral, it must be stated in the paper: (a) why written consent could not be obtained, (b) that the IRB approved the use of oral consent, and (c) how oral consent was documented.
Authors should be able to submit, upon request, a statement from the research ethics committee or institutional review board indicating approval of the research. We also encourage authors to submit a sample of a patient consent form, and may require submission on particular occasions.
All animal work must have been conducted according to relevant national and international guidelines. In accordance with the recommendations of the Weatherall report, The use of non-human primates in research, we specifically require authors to include details of animal welfare and steps taken to ameliorate suffering in all work involving non-human primates. The institution that approved the study must be named, and it must be stated in the paper that the study was conducted adhering to the institution's guidelines for animal husbandry.
Our human participant policy conforms to the Uniform Requirements of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors:
Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that the patient be shown the manuscript to be published. Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, and informed consent for publication should be obtained if there is any doubt. If data are changed to protect anonymity, authors should provide assurance that alterations of the data do not distort scientific meaning. When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published article.
For papers that include identifying information, or potentially identifying information, authors must download the Consent Form for Publication in a PLOS Journal (below), which the patient, parent, or guardian must sign once they have read the paper and been informed about the terms of the PLOS content license.
Once authors have obtained the signed consent form, it should be filed securely in the patient's case notes and the manuscript submitted to PLOS should include this statement indicating that specific consent for publication was obtained: “The patients in this manuscript have given written informed consent (as outlined in the PLOS consent form) to publication of their case details.”
Download the PLOS consent form (PDF):
PLOS follows the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition of a clinical trial:
Registering Clinical Trials
All clinical trials submitted to PLOS journals must be entered in a publicly accessible registry approved by the WHO or ICMJE. See the list of approved registries.
PLOS journals consider prospective trial registration (that is, registration before participant enrollment has begun) to be best publication practice, as recommended by the ICMJE. Clinical trials that began to enroll participants before ICMJE recommendations took effect on July 1, 2005 may be retrospectively registered.
More information about trial registration, including the WHO definition of a clinical trial, is in the ICMJE FAQ.
PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases is unlikely to publish clinical trials that are not prospectively registered. We recognize, however, that in rare cases late registration may occur for exceptional reasons that merit consideration. Authors seeking evaluation by PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases of a non–prospectively registered clinical trial must provide a compelling reason for lack of prospective registration.
In addition, as for all PLOS journals, authors wishing to submit a clinical trial that was not publicly registered before participant enrollment began must register the trial retrospectively in a publicly accessible registry. They must also:
- Register all related clinical trials and confirm they have done so in the Methods section
- Explain in the Methods the specific reasons for failing to register before participant enrollment
- Confirm that future trials will be registered prospectively
PLOS journal editors may decline to further consider any clinical trial for which, in the editor’s judgment, absence of prospective registration raises concerns of selective publication or selective reporting of research outcomes.
PLOS supports the public disclosure of all clinical trial results, as mandated, for example, by the 2007 FDA Amendments Act. Prior disclosure of results on a clinical trial registry site will not affect consideration.
Clinical trial reports must adhere to the relevant reporting guidelines for their study design, such as CONSORT for randomized controlled trials, TREND for non-randomized trials, and other specialized guidelines as appropriate.
For all clinical trial submissions, authors must include the following:
- Registration details (reported in the Methods section and in the submission form)
- CONSORT checklist or relevant reporting guideline (uploaded as supporting information)
- CONSORT flow diagram (uploaded as Fig 1)
- Trial protocol (uploaded as supporting information)
- Details of prior approval for human subjects research by an institutional review board (IRB) or equivalent ethics committee(s)
The submission will not be considered if documentation is not provided. The checklist, flow diagram, and protocol will be published with the article if the manuscript is accepted.
The manuscript file must include the following information:
- An explanation of any deviation from the trial protocol
- Description of informed consent obtained from participants
- Any information on statistical methods or participants not indicated in the CONSORT documentation
Submissions with systematic reviews and meta-analyses are considered research articles. Submit these manuscripts with the "Research Article" type in the submission system.
Reports of systematic reviews and meta-analyses must adhere to the PRISMA Statement or alternative guidelines appropriate to the study design, and include the completed checklist and flow diagram to accompany the main text. Authors must complete the appropriate reporting checklist not only with page references, but also with sufficient text excerpted from the manuscript to explain how they accomplished all applicable items.
Abstracts should follow PRISMA for Abstracts, using the PLOS abstract format. Authors must also state within the Methods section of their paper whether a protocol exists for their systematic review, and if so, provide a copy of the protocol as supporting information.
The journal supports the prospective registration of systematic reviews. Authors whose systematic review was prospectively registered (e.g., in a registry such as PROSPERO) should provide the registry number in their abstract. Registry details and protocols will be made available to editors and reviewers, and included with the paper if the report is ultimately published.
Reports of studies of diagnostic accuracy must adhere to the STARD requirements or alternative guidelines appropriate to the study design (see the EQUATOR web site) and include a completed checklist as supporting information. Authors must complete the appropriate reporting checklist not only with page references, but also with sufficient text excerpted from the manuscript to explain how they addressed all applicable items.
For observational studies, including case control, cohort, and cross-sectional studies, authors must adhere to the STROBE Statement or alternative guidelines appropriate to the study design (see the EQUATOR web site) and include a completed checklist as supporting information. Authors must complete the appropriate reporting checklist not only with page references, but also with sufficient text excerpted from the manuscript to explain how they addressed all applicable items.
For observational studies, authors are required to clearly specify (a) What specific hypotheses the researchers intended to test, and the analytical methods by which they planned to test them; (b) What analyses they actually performed; and (c) When reported analyses differ from those that were planned, authors must provide transparent explanations for differences that affect the reliability of the study's results.
If a prospective analysis plan (from the study's funding proposal, IRB or other ethics committee submission, study protocol, or other planning document written before analyzing the data) was used in designing an observational study, authors must include the relevant prospectively written document with the manuscript submission for access by editors and reviewers and eventual publication alongside the accepted paper. If no prospectively written document exists, authors should explain how and when they determined the analyses being reported.
Reports of microarray experiments must conform to the MIAME guidelines, and the data from the experiments must be deposited in a publicly accessible database.
If you are submitting content other than a research article, read the guidelines for other article types.
Many institutional partners globally have publishing agreements with PLOS to allow their corresponding authors to publish with reduced or no APCs. To determine if your corresponding author is eligible, please visit our institutional partners page to determine what kind of agreement your institution has with PLOS.
If your corresponding author is affiliated with a participating institution, they must follow the instructions below to demonstrate eligibility.
If your corresponding author is not from a participating institution and requires assistance paying publishing fees, please consider applying for a fee waiver at submission.