PLOS ONE is an inclusive journal community working together to advance science for the benefit of society, now and in the future. Founded with the aim of accelerating the pace of scientific advancement and demonstrating its value, we believe all rigorous science deserves to be published and should be discoverable, widely disseminated and freely accessible to all.
Why Researchers Choose PLOS ONE
Inclusive publication criteria and scope
PLOS ONE accepts research in over two hundred subject areas across science, engineering, medicine, and the related social sciences and humanities. We evaluate research on the basis of scientific validity, strong methodology, and high ethical standards—not perceived significance. Multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary research, replication studies, negative and null results are all in scope. We also publish Registered Reports and Protocols.
“I published with PLOS ONE because I love the idea that acceptance is based on quality of the work, not whether it's trendy or important in the eyes of a few editors.”
- Alison Turnbull, Outcomes After Critical Illness and Surgery (OACIS) Group, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America
Fair and robust review
PLOS ONE staff and our expert board of Academic Editors work together to ensure that the peer review process is fair, fast and thorough and that the work we publish meets high ethical and methodological standards in line with our editorial policies. We offer our reviewers the opportunity to sign their reviews and authors the choice to publish their Peer Review History supporting transparency, accountability and credit.
“Everything was very fast from the time I sent the article to the time I got the first review and later on with the two rebuttal letters, plus modifications I sent. The reviewers were quite rigorous and that substantially improved our manuscript and we are definitely grateful for that.”
- José Ribamar Ferreira-Júnior, Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil
Research published in PLOS ONE is immediately available to the widest possible audience. To help authors broaden their reach both in and outside of their discipline, our dedicated media team works with an extensive network of journalists to highlight noteworthy research. PLOS ONE articles received more than 100,000 mentions in media outlets around the world in 2022.
With more than 20,000 new authors joining the PLOS ONE community every year in over 200 research areas, PLOS ONE facilitates connections within and between disciplines
The PLOS ONE community paved the way with open access. Now we’re doing the same with open science.
PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works we publish. Under this license, authors retain the copyright to their work and grant permission for anyone, anywhere in the world to read, share, and reuse these articles, as long as the author and original source are properly cited.
Throughout the peer review and publication process, PLOS ONE encourages transparency and practices that increase the visibility, trust, and reuse of research. We offer enhanced author attribution and identification through the CRediT authorship taxonomy and ORCID iD, publicly posted protocols and data sets, facilitated preprint posting, and optional Published Peer Review History.
“I see the Open Access movement as a means by which scientific inquiry and discovery can truly serve the community at large, rather than being locked behind paywalls and accessible only to academic insiders. By promoting free and open exchange of information, research findings can be more easily applied to solve pressing real-world problems.”
- Serge Wiltshire, Food Systems, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, United States of America
PLOS promotes the use of individualized article-level metrics to track the impact and reach of your unique work with precision. Every article we publish provides viewership, downloads, media mentions, social sharing, and citations through Altmetric.
Types of articles
PLOS ONE welcomes original research submissions from the natural sciences, medical research, engineering, as well as the related social sciences and humanities, including:
Primary research that contributes to the base of scientific knowledge, including interdisciplinary, replication studies, and negative or null results.
Systematic reviews whose methods ensure the comprehensive and unbiased sampling of existing literature.
Submissions describing methods, software, databases, or other tools that meet the journal’s criteria for utility, validation and availability.
Qualitative research that adheres to appropriate study design and reporting guidelines.
Protocols, including Lab Protocols that describe verified methodologies and Study Protocols that describe detailed plans for research projects.
Criteria for Publication
- The study presents the results of original research.
- Results reported have not been published elsewhere.
- Experiments, statistics, and other analyses are performed to a high technical standard and are described in sufficient detail.
- Conclusions are presented in an appropriate fashion and are supported by the data.
- The article is presented in an intelligible fashion and is written in standard English.
- The research meets all applicable standards for the ethics of experimentation and research integrity.
- The article adheres to appropriate reporting guidelines and community standards for data availability.
Peer Review at PLOS ONE
PLOS ONE is a fully peer reviewed journal with a rigorous multi-stage editorial screening and assessment process.
First, we undertake an initial in-house quality check to identify potential issues such as competing interest, compliance with ethical standards for studies involving human and animal subjects, financial disclosures, data availability, and other scientific and policy requirements. Submissions may be returned to authors for changes or clarifications at this stage.
After passing quality control, each manuscript is placed with a member of the Editorial Board who conducts peer review and makes the decision to accept, invite revision, or reject the submitted manuscript. Read the detailed Editorial and Peer Review Process overview.
Ready to Submit?
In line with our founding mission, we do all we can to ensure a fast and thorough review process based on expertise from the research community. We know that prompt editorial assessment and publication are important to scientific advancement, and we're always working to improve. Journal timings vary by subject area and manuscript, we transparently display our timings below as a guide but please be advised this may not reflect our most up-to-date improvements.
|Jan - Jun 20||Jul - Dec 20||Jan - Jun 21||Jul - Dec 21||Jan - June 22|
|Time to First Editorial Decision (Rejection or Peer Review)||12||16||12||15||17|
|Time to First Decision||44||47||48||53||62|
|Time to Final Decision (Rejection or Acceptance)||83||84||90||105||118|
|Time to Acceptance||144||149||157||170||196|
|Time to Publication||169||162||170||177||205|
|Time from Acceptance to Publication||13||11||10||9||10|
|Desk Rejections without peer review (%)||23.0%||22.8%||21.50%||21.40%||22.90%|
|All times are in days and are median numbers
*Acceptance rates are calculated from submission cohorts and are therefore only available with delay
PLOS employs several business models to support equitable Open Access. A full list of our publication fees, funding initiatives and fee assistance information is available here.
PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works we publish. Under this license, authors agree to make articles legally available for reuse, without permission or fees, for virtually any purpose. Anyone may copy, distribute, or reuse these articles, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. Learn more.
Journal Impact and Article Metrics
PLOS does not consider Impact Factor to be a reliable or useful metric to assess the performance of individual articles. PLOS supports DORA – the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment – and does not promote our journal Impact Factors. We will provide the metric to individuals when specifically requested.
PLOS promotes the use of Article-Level Metrics (ALMs), which enable scientists and the general public to engage more dynamically with published research. ALMs reflect the changing impact of research over time, incorporate academic as well as social impacts of research, and assess the impact of research before the accrual of academic citations. Read more about ALMs.
Indexing and Archiving
All PLOS journals are widely indexed by major services such as Crossref, Dimensions, DOAJ, Google Scholar, PubMed, PubMed Central, Scopus, and Web of Science.
PLOS ONE is also indexed by the following services to ensure research content is accessible and discoverable as widely as possible: AGRICOLA, Biological Abstracts, BIOSYS Previews, CABI CAB Abstracts, CABI Global Health, CAPES, CAS, CNKI, EconBiz, Embase, Food Science and Technology Abstracts, Journal Guide, MEDLINE, Psychinfo, RePEc, and Zoological Record.
- See publishing details for all PLOS journal titles, including ISSN and indexing and archiving information.
PLOS is a nonprofit, Open Access publisher empowering researchers to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication.
Visit the Contact page for details about whom to contact with different queries.