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Other Article Types

Collection Overviews

PLOS Pathogens considers Collection Overview articles within pre-planned Collections. Collection Overviews discuss the relevant history and scientific background of a Collection, and unlike Collection Reviews, they are not intended as an exhaustive summary of a particular topic, but rather aim to place the articles included in the Collection within the context of knowledge in the field.

Collection Overviews should be concise, with suitable referencing, and provide the appropriate context for the publications in the Collection.

Collection Overviews will be considered subject to prior approval by journal editors, or they may be commissioned by staff editors from the Guest Editor(s) of a Collection. PLOS Pathogens staff editors do not consider unsolicited Collection Overviews.

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.

PLOS Pathogens is no longer accepting presubmission inquiries, either through the submission system or over email. Please visit our Scope page to help inform your decision to submit, and if you aren’t sure, submit the full manuscript to the journal.

Short Reports

Short Reports are tailored for concise communication of impactful discoveries. These reports offer a swift and self-contained platform to share brief yet compelling research findings. They present results from a limited set of experiments, typically summarized in 3-4 figures or fewer. The outcomes should be self-contained, rather than fitting within the narrative arc of a larger research project or article. Short Reports should be no longer than 1800 words.

Short Reports should be organized as the Research Article. The word limit applies to introduction, results, materials and methods, and discussion only.


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 3000-5000 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.

Post-Publication Notices

PLOS publishes Corrections, Expressions of Concern, and Retraction notices, as needed, to address issues that arise after a PLOS article has been published.