Breaking down publication to share the full story of your research

“Are traditional research articles still meeting researchers’ communication needs? Over the past decade, Open Science and the rise in digital publications together have facilitated a more agile ecosystem of research-sharing. For researchers, that means: faster pathways to sharing their discoveries; greater transparency of assessment which helps increase reliability and public trust; and more opportunities for collaborations that accelerate advancements in the field.

With increased options for sharing and evaluating science, we’re looking at ways to segment the research-sharing lifecycle to fit the research process. How do we share important, urgent discoveries earlier, without compromising quality? What other essential products of research can we be more transparent about?…”

PLOS Joins Other Publishers and Societies in Support of the Proposed White House Policy Regarding Federally Funded Research

Note: PLOS and other prominent organizations delivered the following letter to the Trump Administration on January 17, 2020. We encourage all publishing organizations and scholarly societies who would like to join us in support of OA in the USA to reach out to us at — we can prepare an expanded letter with more signatories as necessary. Please also consider voicing your support on social media with the hashtag #OAintheUSA.

Peer Review in Service of Open Science

“When we think about Open Science, sharing a diverse array of research products—such as data, code, methods, reagents—immediately comes to mind. More fundamentally, Open Science is about the entire process of conducting and communicating science according to long-established norms. Openness is at the heart of scientific enterprise. Scientists adopt open practices to allow collaboration and critical scrutiny, so that knowledge can be validated and built upon for the common good. The publishing process should be a central element ensuring that these norms are maintained. 

We’ve considered how our submission and peer-review processes at PLOS can be improved upon to facilitate Open Science: we have made several changes over the past year and a half and we continue to explore new possibilities. …”

Registered Reports are Coming to PLOS ONE | EveryONE: The PLOS ONE blog

“I’m very excited to announce that PLOS ONE will soon offer a new preregistration article type, Registered Reports! The benefits that preregistration can bring to the entire research community tie so closely with PLOS ONE’s mission, that we see this as a natural fit for the journal and we’re pleased to open this option to our authors. …”

Registered Reports are Coming to PLOS ONE | EveryONE: The PLOS ONE blog

“I’m very excited to announce that PLOS ONE will soon offer a new preregistration article type, Registered Reports! The benefits that preregistration can bring to the entire research community tie so closely with PLOS ONE’s mission, that we see this as a natural fit for the journal and we’re pleased to open this option to our authors. …”

Review Commons is now LIVE

“ASAPbio and EMBO Press just launched Review Commons, a platform for high-quality, journal-independent peer review of manuscripts in the life sciences before they are submitted to a journal. 

PLOS is part of a group of affiliate journals that have agreed to consider submissions with transferred reviews from Review Commons without restarting the review process. All of our journals within scope — PLOS Biology, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS ONE and PLOS Pathogens — now welcome submissions reviewed at Review Commons.

Authors can submit preprints or unpublished manuscripts to Review Commons for expert peer review coordinated by professional editors at EMBO Press. Authors can then decide the best home for this Refereed Preprint which contains the manuscript, the reviewers’ reports plus any author responses. …”

A deeply flawed paper in an Elsevier journal accuses PLOS of mismanagement

“1. This paper is not comparing the right journals (part 1). PNAS/MS/PLOS ONE is not the right comparison. Need to evaluate Elsevier’s PLOS ONE-like journals, Scientific Reports (Nature), G3 (GSA), PeerJ – other mega journals. Is it a PLOS ONE signal or something common to these journals? 


2. This paper is not comparing the right journals (part 2).  PNAS and MS are not general biology journals. PNAS publishes physics. PNAS has a massive rejection rate. Different world. I have no idea what the journal of Management Science is, but I would be highly surprised if they were getting the same DNA analysis papers as PLOS ONE. It may very well be that if you compare to other journals, subscription and open access, which take similar papers, the activity of the editors might be the same as at PLOS ONE.


3. Out of 7,000 PLOS ONE editors, this paper flagged issues with very few, focusing on 10 unusual ones. What if you look at 7,000 academic editors of subscription journals? Would you find problems with 10, 20, 100?

4. This paper is looking at editor activity. It is not looking at quality and soundness of typical papers in PLOS ONE. PLOS requires sharing of data, unlike others. PLOS requires sharing of raw Western blots, unlike others. PLOS requires and ensures many things while handling submissions in a way that all journals should but often do not. It is possible that an average paper in PLOS ONE is more reliable than an average paper at many other subscription non-mega-journals .


6. This paper’s abstract starts with “PLOS ONE has relied on a single-tier editorial board comprised of ?7000 active academics, who thereby face conflicts of interest relating to their dual roles as both producers and gatekeepers of peer-reviewed literature.” Excuse me. That has nothing to do with PLOS ONE or open access: every society journal with academic editors is precisely this.


7. Speaking of conflict of interest – this paper accuses the Public Library of Science of mismanagement with its title “Megajournal mismanagement: Manuscript decision bias and anomalous editor activity at PLOS ONE”; it is a flawed attack on PLOS ONE, published in an Elsevier journal. How is that okay?

8. The person that sent it to you wrote, “For those of you who have submitted articles to PLOS, or are thinking of it. Interesting but unfortunate editorial practices…” That is a statement against PLOS Biology, PLOS Genetics, etc – none of which are subject to this study. This study focuses on PLOS ONE, but even there, I am not sure if there is a signal of anything specific to the journal, as I highlight above….”

Is PLOS Running Out Of Time? Financial Statements Suggest Urgency To Innovate – The Scholarly Kitchen

“Time may be running out for the Public Library of Science (PLOS).

The San Francisco-based, non-profit open access (OA) publisher released its latest financials, disclosing that it ran a US $5.5 million dollar deficit in 2018 on $32M dollars of revenue. In order to cover this loss, it dug deep into its savings and sold off nearly $5M in financial investments.

This is not the first time the publisher spent more than it earned. Indeed, the last time PLOS made surpluses was 2015, when it had $30.6M in the bank. By 2017, PLOS’ savings had been cut nearly in half to $17M, and fell again to $11M in 2018. At the same time, 2018 salaries and other employee compensation went up by $1.8M (8%) from 2017, despite publishing 11% fewer papers….”

Why engage with preprints? | The Official PLOS Blog

“Preprints enable authors to share their work early, openly, and in a way that is free from journal influence or stylistic preferences. They also open up possibilities for pre-publication commentary that have previously been limited to a group of trusted confidants and hand-selected (often anonymous) peer reviewers invited by the editors. The opening up of comments via email, Twitter, or on the preprint server has the potential to expand the number of voices involved in the peer review of manuscripts, to allow the development of a preprint in parallel with the formal peer review, and to accelerate the research process.

To explore these opportunities, we recently launched a preprint commenting pilot, which will enable handling editors at PLOS Journals* to better access and utilize comments left on preprinted submissions for consideration in their review of the manuscript.

While the announcement speaks for itself, we also wanted to give more context for our work in engaging with preprints and facilitating comments more broadly. Driven by our work alongside the research community, these fall into three major strategic directions:

1. A more equitable platform for community review….

2. Published outputs should be shaped by the scholarly process, and not by publishers’ preferences or requirements….

3. More editorial activity is better for all concerned, including researchers but also publishers, and may save everyone time….”

Community Comments and Peer Review: A preprint commenting pilot at PLOS  | The Official PLOS Blog

“Researchers have told us that posting manuscripts as preprints before—or at the same time as—submitting them to a journal is a great way to gain additional feedback from the community and improve their paper. Could the same community feedback also help improve the quality and speed of the review process at a journal? We’re launching a pilot to find out….”