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What We Publish

Research Articles

Research Articles present the results of original research that address a clearly defined research question and contribute to the body of academic knowledge.

PLOS Sustainability and Transformation considers Research Articles in fields including agronomy, forestry, fisheries, food and nutrition, ecology, implementation studies, microbiology, bio-based industries, circular bioeconomy, renewable energy, sustainable response to climate change, social sciences and economics to solve urgent challenges facing the sustainability of our global environment, economy and global societies.

Research Articles typically consist of the following headings:

  • Abstract
  • Introduction
  • Materials and Methods
  • Results
  • Discussion
  • Conclusions

Submitted Research Articles are evaluated against the PLOS Sustainability and Transformation criteria for publication and should also adhere to the author submission guidelines.

Articles reporting new methods

PLOS Sustainability and Transformation considers Research Article submissions which report new methods, software, databases and tools as the primary focus of the article. These should also adhere to the utility, availability and validation criteria in the guidelines for specific study types.

Front Matter Article Types

Formal Comments

Formal Comments are invited by PLOS Sustainability and Transformation editors to promote scientific discourse about PLOS Sustainability and Transformation articles. They provide additional perspectives or context on a publication, especially in areas of policy, societal relevance, or ongoing scientific debate.

PLOS Sustainability and Transformation may invite a Formal Comment as:

  • A response to scientific criticism or re-analysis by authors whose work is disputed in a PLOS Sustainability and Transformation publication.
  • An article that offers an expert, broad and balanced perspective on a PLOS Sustainability and Transformation publication, or adds context on the potential editorial, societal or policy implications of the findings.

Formal Comments should be concise, coherent, well-argued and of timely relevance to the field. Formal Comments undergo peer review, and the journal may also invite the authors of the article under discussion to provide a signed review or to submit a response to the Formal Comment. PLOS Sustainability and Transformation editors do not consider unsolicited Formal Comments.

Formal Comments are not meant to address concerns around publication ethics. Direct ethics concerns about PLOS Sustainability and Transformation to the PLOS Publication Ethics team​ and cc the journal.


These peer-reviewed articles are compelling narrative reviews that discuss current developments in a particular field within the journal’s scope and draw meaningful conclusions adding to knowledge in the field. They should be balanced, coherent, and representative of the literature on the topic covered. These articles should be around 4,000 words with a recommended 5 figures and a suggested limit of 100 references.

Reviews should include:

  • An introduction summarizing the topic’s background and purpose of the review.
  • A conclusion succinctly outlining key points.
  • Where possible, discussion of implications to the field and recommendations based on evidence presented.


Opinion articles provide experts with a forum to comment on topical or controversial issues of broad interest. They address issues at the interface between science and policy or science and society, present a policy position aimed at influencing policy decisions, and examine and make recommendations on scientific and publishing practices. These are meant to be short, opinionated pieces. These articles should be no more than 1,000 words with a figure encouraged and a maximum of 15 references. Opinion articles are not routinely peer reviewed, but are evaluated in detail by the editors, who may decide to seek additional advice from members of the editorial board or external reviewers.


Editorials are written in-house by members of the editorial staff or by members of the Editorial Board.

Post-Publication Notices

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