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Criteria for Publication

1. The study presents the results of original research.

PLOS Water is designed to communicate original research and research methods. We welcome submissions from across the areas of water that contribute to our understanding, management and supply of water as a vital resource for people and planet. These areas include water treatment, contamination, purification, quality, consumption, recycling, scarcity and supply, conservation, infrastructure, technology and engineering, applied governance and policy, equity, access, and environmental impacts.

In keeping with our mission to publish all methodologically and ethically rigorous research, we will consider submissions reporting negative and null results.

We generally will not consider unsolicited narrative reviews, opinion pieces, essays and policy perspectives, but publish commissioned articles of these types. If you would like to contribute an Essay, Review or Opinion, we encourage you to contact the Executive Editor or Editor-in-Chief with an outline – we will then decide whether to invite submission of the article. Manuscripts that use systematic approaches to identifying and synthesizing relevant literature (e.g. systematic reviews, rapid reviews, scoping reviews, umbrella reviews, mixed-methods reviews and integrative reviews) will be considered and should be submitted as a Research Article.

Clinical case reports, hypothesis or proposal papers, protocols letters, commentaries, clinical practice guidelines, monographs, or other types of secondary literature will not be considered.

2. Results reported have not been published elsewhere.

Previously Published Studies

PLOS Water does not accept for publication studies that have already been published, in whole or in part, elsewhere in the peer-reviewed literature. All figures included in manuscripts should be original, and should not have been published in any previous publications.

In addition, we will not consider submissions that are currently under consideration for publication elsewhere.

PLOS supports authors who wish to share their work early through deposition of manuscripts in preprint servers. This does not impact consideration of the manuscript at any PLOS journal. We will consider manuscripts that have been deposited in preprint servers, published as a thesis, or presented at conferences.

Replication Studies

If a submitted study replicates or is very similar to previous work, authors must provide a sound scientific rationale for the submitted work and clearly reference and discuss the existing literature. Submissions that replicate or are derivative of existing work will likely be rejected if authors do not provide adequate justification.

3. Experiments, statistics, and other analyses are performed to a high technical standard and are described in sufficient detail.

Experiments must have been conducted rigorously, with appropriate controls and replication. Sample sizes must be large enough to produce robust results, where applicable. Methods and reagents must be described in sufficient detail for another researcher to reproduce the experiments described.

4. Conclusions are presented in an appropriate fashion and are supported by the data.

The data presented in the manuscript must support the conclusions drawn. Submissions will be rejected if the interpretation of results is unjustified or inappropriate, so authors should avoid overstating their conclusions. Authors may discuss possible implications for their results as long as these are clearly identified as hypotheses instead of conclusions.

5. The article is presented in an intelligible fashion and is written in standard English.

PLOS Water does not copyedit accepted manuscripts, so the language in submitted articles must be clear, correct, and unambiguous. We may reject papers that do not meet these standards.

If the language of a paper is difficult to understand or includes many errors, we may recommend that authors seek independent editorial help before submitting a revision. These services can be found on the web using search terms like “scientific editing service” or “manuscript editing service.”

6. The research meets all applicable standards for the ethics of experimentation and research integrity.

Ethics of Experimentation

Research published in PLOS Water must have been conducted to the highest ethical standards. We reserve the right to reject any submission that does not meet these standards, which in some cases are more stringent than local ethical standards.

Approval from the relevant body is required for studies involving:

If approval was not obtained, authors must explain why it was not required.

Please contact PLOS Water staff at if you have questions regarding your work and compliance with accepted ethical standards.

Publication Ethics

PLOS is a member of the Committee on Publication Ethics (COPE). PLOS Water abides by its Code of Conduct and aims to adhere to its Best Practice Guidelines. Authors are expected to comply with best practices in publication ethics, specifically regarding authorship, dual publication, plagiarism, figure manipulation, and competing interests.

For more details about PLOS Water's expectations for publication ethics, see the Editorial Policies.

Any concerns about the above should be addressed to the editorial office at

7. The article adheres to appropriate reporting guidelines and community standards for data availability.

Reporting Guidelines

Results must be rigorously reported, as appropriate based on community standards. More information about discipline-specific reporting guidelines can be found in the submission guidelines.

Data Availability

Authors must follow standards and practice for data deposition in publicly available resources including those created for gene sequences, microarray expression, structural studies, and similar kinds of data. Failure to comply with community standards may result in rejection.

For more information about PLOS Water requirements for data sharing and deposition in public databases, see our data availability policy.