Reflecting the full breadth of research on bacteria, fungi, parasites, prions and viruses, PLOS Pathogens publishes outstanding original research and commentary that significantly advance the understanding of pathogens and how they interact with their host organisms.
Bacteria, fungi, parasites, prions and viruses cause a plethora of diseases that have important medical, agricultural, and economic consequences. Moreover, the study of microbes continues to provide novel insights into such fundamental processes as the molecular basis of cellular and organismal function.
PLOS Pathogens reflects the full breadth of research in these areas by publishing outstanding original articles that significantly advance the understanding of pathogens and how they interact with their host organisms. Topics include (but are not limited to) adaptive and innate immune defenses as well as pathogen countermeasures, emerging pathogens, evolution, genomics and gene regulation, model host organisms, pathogen-cell biology, pathogenesis, prions, proteomics and signal transduction, rational vaccine design, structural biology, and virulence factors.
The journal will not consider purely descriptive studies, such as those that solely identify a new genomic sequence of a related pathogen or a series of related pathogens, the isolation of pathogen variants, or a new strain or type based only on sequence analysis or correlative studies of host and pathogen genotypes.
Genomics studies, which include functional predictions or inferences based on genome sequence analysis, will also require additional experimental validation that directly tests the prediction/inference and yields novel conclusions about mechanistic models or pathogenesis. Instances where inferences about potential functions can be supported by association studies of genotype-phenotype combined with existing functional data, may also be appropriate, pending approval by the editors. If a paper provides novel mechanistic insight but lacks functional validation, it may be considered on a case-by-case basis.
We encourage authors to submit a presubmission inquiry to determine whether a given study might fit these guidelines. Genomics submissions may go through an initial consultation by our Genomics Editors.
PLOS Pathogens features engaging primary research articles, informative Pearls, Research Matters, and Reviews, monthly Opinions, and occasional Editorials and Viewpoints.
To be considered for publication in PLOS Pathogens, any given manuscript must satisfy the following criteria:
High importance to researchers in the field
High importance and broad interest to the community of researchers studying pathogens and pathogen-host interactions
- Substantial evidence for its conclusions
PLOS Pathogens encourages researchers to share early versions of their manuscripts via preprint server, either before or after submission; posting to a preprint server will not preclude consideration of your manuscript.
Scientists commonly refer to research as “scooped” when independent groups working on the same topic reach similar conclusions and one group publishes the results first. Although originality is one criterion for studies published in PLOS Pathogens, “scooped” manuscripts that confirm, replicate, extend, or are complementary to a recently published, significant advance are still eligible for consideration in PLOS Pathogens. The complementary manuscript must present equally or more rigorous findings than the published study and any submission must also meet the criteria for publication listed above. Authors of the complementary work have six months after the first article’s publication date to submit their manuscript to PLOS Pathogens. Studies must be performed comprehensively, and preliminary placeholder studies will not be considered.
PLOS Pathogens is run by an international Editorial Board, headed by Editors-in-Chief Kasturi Haldar (University of Notre Dame, Notre Dame, IN, USA) and Grant McFadden (Arizona State University, Tempe, AZ, USA).
PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works we publish. This license was developed to facilitate open access – namely, free immediate access to, and unrestricted reuse of, original works of all types.
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. Read PLOS’ licenses and copyright policy.
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.
PLOS Pathogens publication fees are US$2350 per manuscript and will be billed upon acceptance. Authors’ ability to pay publication fees will never be a consideration in the decision whether to publish. Read more about publication fees and publication fee support.
See publishing details for all PLOS journal titles, including ISSN and indexing and archiving information.
PLOS (Public Library of Science) publishes a suite of influential journals from all areas of science and medicine that contain rigorously reported, peer-reviewed Open Access research articles. The journals vary in their criteria for publication and, with the exception of PLOS ONE, also publish a variety of influential and educational non-research content. The journals are editorially independent. Read more about the PLOS suite of journals.
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