Presubmission Inquiries

When authors are unsure whether their work satisfies the basic requirements for publication in PLOS Pathogens, we are happy to consider presubmission inquiries.

If you would like to submit an informal presubmission inquiry to see if a manuscript is within the journal’s scope, please login or register for a new account within our online submission system, click the link labeled, “Submit New Manuscript,” and select “Presubmission Inquiry” as your article type. A relevant cover letter and a referenced abstract are all that is required for a presubmission inquiry.

Responses to these inquiries are normally provided within one week. Responses may take longer if consultation between members of the Editorial Board is required. If you are invited to submit your manuscript, we will do our best to provide an expeditious initial assessment of the complete manuscript for suitability and then, if warranted, we will send the manuscript to external peer review.

To be of most use to authors and editors, presubmission inquiries should consist of the following:

A COVER LETTER of approximately 600 words that provides brief answers to the following questions:

  • What is the scientific question you are addressing?
  • What is the key finding that answers this question?
  • What is the nature of the evidence you provide in support of your conclusion?
  • What are the three most recently published papers that are relevant to this question?
  • What significance do your results have for the field?
  • What significance do your results have for the broader community in the area of Pathogens and/or Pathogenesis?
  • What other novel findings do you present?
  • Is there additional information that we should take into account?

A REFERENCED ABSTRACT of approximately 300 words. For the purpose of the presubmission inquiry submission form, the referenced abstract should include up to 10 key references that put your work into context. Please do not submit your entire manuscript. 

The abstract should be structured as follows:


This section should describe clearly the rationale for the study being done and the previous work relevant to the study. It should end with a statement of the specific question or hypothesis being addressed.

Methodology/Principal Findings

Mention the techniques used without going into extensive methodological detail, and outline the most important results. Include sample sizes for key experiments as appropriate. Please also outline any limitations of the study that may have a bearing on the results.


Provide the take-home message of your article as clearly as possible. You may also include a brief, more general interpretation of the results and / or specific recommendations for future research. Please note, however, that the editors will pay most attention to the direct conclusions of the work being presented, rather than some possible future avenues being opened.


Provide a maximum of 10 key references that put your work into context.