Other Article Types

The front section of PLOS Pathogens is a forum for the publication of articles of broad interest to the community of researchers studying pathogens and pathogen-host interactions.

Articles in the magazine section will mostly be commissioned, but we welcome your ideas for articles. If you would like to write a Review or Opinion, please first submit a presubmission inquiry. There are no publication charges associated with these articles.


These are peer-reviewed articles on rapidly advancing or topical areas in pathogen research and of broad interest to the entire pathogens community. Generally such pieces will canvass briefly any existing literature on a particular topic and speculate on future directions of this course of study. These articles should be no more than 3000 words with 5 figures and a maximum of 100 references.


The Opinions section is intended to provide a place for the expression of views on topical, emerging or controversial issues ranging from experimental science to those involving science and public-health policy, education and training. It is also a forum in which colleagues can respond, with room for speculation, to previously stated opinions or observations. A successful Opinion piece will make a compelling case for a particular point of view, but will do so, mindful of existing controversies or alternative views, and will make an effort to integrate these into the discussion.

While primary data are typically not included in these submissions, if the author chooses to include data, it should be subjected to rigorous review as would any research article. These articles should be no more than 1000 words with 3 figures and a maximum of 100 references.


Written by the journal's editors, these occasional pieces can cover announcements, highlights of journal content, position statements, and journal updates.


The goal of a Pearl is to describe within a short space a small number of significant and interesting facts about a topic in the world of pathogens. While articles are meant to be current, the audience is meant to be broad. Thus, an article should be readable by scientists working on a completely different pathogen, and they should avoid details relevant only to insiders in a field. Rather they should summarize succinctly the key exciting and important facts on a topic at a level that would allow it to be used in a graduate course. Pearls should be no more than 1500 words with 1-2 figures/tables and a maximum of 20 references.

Pearls may take one of the two following formats:

  • “Five facts about X”: In this format, authors list significant facts about a topic and then summarize the evidence for them.
  • “Q&A”: In this format, each paragraph involves a question followed by an answer – a more conversational style that may suit some topics better.

Example Pearl

Rundell EA, McKeithen-Mead SA, Kazmierczak BI (2016) Rampant Cheating by Pathogens? PLoS Pathog 12(9): e1005792.

Research Matters

The Research Matters series allows individual scientists to comment on the diverse ways that fundamental research into pathogens can have real, and sometimes unexpected, impacts on public health and human knowledge in general, and matters in the larger context. Each essay should be no more than 800 words, accessible to a broader educated readership, embody the voice of the scientist author, and connect to a bigger picture. Research Matters are by invitation only, and the recommended framework includes:

  • A short personalized statement about why the author’s research is important.
  • The use of lay language, hopefully free of jargon, such that a reader outside the author’s particular research arena can still understand the overall message.
  • A compelling narrative that can be autobiographical but should provide a clear link to why the author’s research matters in the broader context, or has the potential to open up new avenues for the future.
  • Illustrative evidence of how fundamental research can impact health and improve overall public welfare, especially in unexpected and unpredictable ways. 

Example Research Matters

Haldar K (2015) From Cell and Organismal Biology to Drugs. PLoS Pathog 11(6): e1005002.

McFadden G (2015) The Curious Road from Basic Pathogen Research to Clinical Translation. PLoS Pathog 11(6): e1004997.