President Obama to Host Innovation Frontiers Conference, Seeks Nominations for Attendees

“President Obama will host a White House Frontiers Conference in Pittsburgh in October and guest-edit the November edition of WIRED magazine, both focusing on the president’s five “frontiers of innovation.” …The conference was inspired by a forthcoming November 2016 issue of WIRED magazine, which President Obama will guest-edit. Both the magazine and conference will focus the president’s five “frontiers in innovation”: [Frontier #2:] Local frontiers in building smart, inclusive communities, including through investments in open data and the Internet of Things; …According to WIRED, this is the first time a magazine will have been guest-edited by a sitting president….”

At Year’s End: Staff Editors’ Favorite PLOS ONE Articles of 2014


2014 has been an exciting year for PLOS ONE. We saw the journal reach a milestone, publishing its 100,000th article. PLOS ONE also published thousands of new research articles this year, including some ground-breaking discoveries, as well as some unexpected … Continue reading »

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Meet PLOS at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 2014

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We are excited to announce that PLOS will be exhibiting at the Society of Vertebrate Paleontology 2014 Annual Meeting from 5-8th November in Berlin. This is only the second time that the meeting takes place outside North America, and the … Continue reading »

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PLOS ONE Publishes its 100,000th Article

PLOS ONE publishes its 100,000th article – a pretty major milestone for a journal that has seen its fair share of momentous events, and a perfect opportunity to reflect on this journey.

 PLOS ONE began seven and a half years ago. On the day of its launch – as has become the legend in the PLOS offices – there was an earthquake in the Bay Area, heralding the tremors that would be felt through the science world as a result of the disruptive innovation underway. PLOS ONE was an aspirational idea for PLOS from the very beginning: our founders always intended to launch a multi-disciplinary, broad-acceptance journal that would shake off the vestiges of the print tradition – no limits to the scope of research, number of pages, or potential growth.

And grow it did. After two years PLOS ONE had published over 4,000 articles, by four years it was the largest journal in the world, and now seven years after launch has published 100,000 articles. The revolutionary model of PLOS ONE has been emulated the world over: virtually every publisher now has its own equivalent “megajournal.”

PLOS ONE is now a major force in the scientific literature. The top 2% PLOS ONE papers (by number of views) have been collectively viewed nearly 39 million times, cited on Scopus over 80,000 times, bookmarked by Mendeley readers over 150,000 times, tweeted over 59,000 times, cited 2,800 times on Wikipedia, and recommended over 300 times on F1000 Prime.

The enduring value of PLOS ONE to the scientific process lies in the solid union between the three following factors: speed to publication, high standards of science, and unrestricted scope of research.

Speed to publication:

Faster time to publication was the founding principle of PLOS ONE. It doesn’t just entail going from submission to publication more quickly (although that is also important). It means dramatically reducing the time from an author’s decision to publish their findings to the time those results appear in public. That time is often years in the old system of review, where subjective opinions of significance and scope lead to unnecessary rejections and resubmission to different journals. With PLOS ONE, where scientific rigor alone is assessed, this time window shortens to a few months.

High standards:

PLOS ONE instituted rigorous standards from the start. As the volume exponentially increased and the quality of the submissions became more variable, these checks became more important and more rigorous. For every paper the journal staff (over 100 strong, including 14 editors) now check each of the following before a manuscript is sent for review:

  • Competing interests
  • Financial disclosures
  • Quality of English language
  • Ethical approval for animal experiments
  • IRB approval for human experiments
  • Protocols and CONSORT for clinical trials
  • PRISMA for systematic reviews and meta-analyses
  • Cell line provenance
  • Field sample provenance
  • Humane endpoints in animal studies
  • Data availability
  • Plagiarism

The care that we take in reporting and oversight is rooted in PLOS’ commitment to this editorial responsibility.

Because of these checks, every PLOS ONE citation on a researcher’s CV shows that their work has reached high standards of reporting and oversight – something that matters a great deal to funders and institutions as the need for reproducibility becomes increasingly a part of their overall mission. This is an area where we feel journals can take a lead: high standards of reporting are the best way for the scientific community to regain the trust of the public and politicians in the wake of the recent spate of failures in replicating high-profile discoveries.

Unrestricted scope:

So many of the delays in sharing results are a result of journals putting unnecessary restrictions on the scope of the research they are willing to publish. Journals often withhold the release of negative findings because they are likely to be cited less, and will therefore lower their impact factor. Or they exclude papers purely due to the application of disciplinary boundaries. In this digital age, with no space restrictions on what can be published, such artificial limits only impede the flow of information. At PLOS ONE, we have thrown out these notions and will consider vital research across all subject areas (even seemingly strange and multi-disciplinary).

A heartfelt 100k thank you

The impact of PLOS ONE on scientific publishing has been tremendous and revolutionary. The world of scientific communication is a different place because of it, and that is something PLOS and its entire community of collaborators should be proud of.

The extraordinary PLOS ONE Editorial Board, reviewers and authors – who believed in the PLOS mission to accelerate research communication and gave their own time to review, edit and revise manuscripts – were critical to this transformation and share in this milestone. To each and every one of them PLOS ONE is eternally grateful.

So here’s to the 100,000th PLOS ONE article. Though thrilled to have reached this milestone, we are even more excited to see where the next 100,000 will lead.

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PLOS ONE Heads to the Big Easy for the 2013 Meeting of the American Society for Cell Biology

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PLOS ONE is excited for the opportunity to exhibit alongside PLOS Biology at the American Society for Cell Biology’s (ASCB) Annual Meeting in New Orleans from December 14 – 18. This year’s ASCB meeting will be held at the Ernest N. Morial Convention Center and is expected to draw approximately 7,000 cell biology enthusiasts. The conference will feature upwards of 100 scientific sessions and 2500 posters on a plethora of topics within cell biology research.  Additionally, as stated on the ASCB Annual Meeting website, Nobel Laureates Randy Schekman, a PLOS ONE author, and James Rotham will be special guest speakers.

We encourage all conference attendees to stop by booth # 211 on Publisher’s Row to speak with PLOS ONE staff and learn about the journal. We look forward to engaging with PLOS ONE authors—current and prospective alike—as well as reviewers, members of our Editorial Board (Academic Editors) and all others wanting to learn about PLOS ONE and PLOS as a whole. Additionally, Dr. Ines Alvarez-Garcia, a Senior Editor from our sister journal, PLOS Biology, will be at the exhibition booth for a “meet the editor” session from noon – 1 pm on Monday, December 16. Be sure to stop by and say hello. After the conference on the evening of the 16th PLOS ONE will be hosting a mixer for all Academic Editors who are in attendance at the event. Please contact Camron Assadi ( to RSVP.

See you in New Orleans on December 14!

In celebration of all things cell biology, here are some of the most viewed and most cited cell biology-related papers published in PLOS ONE over the past year:

Most Viewed

Citation: Rundqvist H, Augsten M, Strömberg A, Rullman E, Mijwel S, et al. (2013) Effect of Acute Exercise on Prostate Cancer Cell Growth. PLoS ONE 8(7): e67579. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0067579

Citation: Hanauske-Abel HM, Saxena D, Palumbo PE, Hanauske A-R, Luchessi AD, et al. (2013) Drug-Induced Reactivation of Apoptosis Abrogates HIV-1 Infection. PLoS ONE 8(9): e74414. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0074414

Citation: Bhasin MK, Dusek JA, Chang B-H, Joseph MG, Denninger JW, et al. (2013) Relaxation Response Induces Temporal Transcriptome Changes in Energy Metabolism, Insulin Secretion and Inflammatory Pathways. PLoS ONE 8(5): e62817. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0062817

Most Cited

Citation: Xu Y, Ding J, Wu L-Y, Chou K-C (2013) iSNO-PseAAC: Predict Cysteine S-Nitrosylation Sites in Proteins by Incorporating Position Specific Amino Acid Propensity into Pseudo Amino Acid Composition. PLoS ONE 8(2): e55844. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055844

Citation: Ohkura M, Sasaki T, Sadakari J, Gengyo-Ando K, Kagawa-Nagamura Y, et al. (2012) Genetically Encoded Green Fluorescent Ca2+ Indicators with Improved Detectability for Neuronal Ca2+ Signals. PLoS ONE 7(12): e51286. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0051286

Citation: Manikkam M, Tracey R, Guerrero-Bosagna C, Skinner MK (2013) Plastics Derived Endocrine Disruptors (BPA, DEHP and DBP) Induce Epigenetic Transgenerational Inheritance of Obesity, Reproductive Disease and Sperm Epimutations. PLoS ONE 8(1): e55387. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0055387

Image Credit(2004) Protein Helps Orchestrate Cells’ Fluid Uptake. PLOS Biology 2(9): e318. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0020318.


PLOS ONE at AGU 2013



PLOS ONE is excited to participate in the American Geophysical Union’s (AGU) Fall Meeting 2013, held this week in San Francisco’s Moscone Center. Conveniently, Moscone is just down the street from our San Francisco office, so several members of PLOS staff will be in attendance and available to chat with you about the journal. We’re looking forward to meeting both current and potential Academic Editors, reviewers, and of course authors! Please stop by Booth #301 to say hello.

Last week was a very geophysics-oriented one for us, with both the publication of Hansen et al.’s work “Assessing “Dangerous Climate Change”: Required Reduction of Carbon Emissions to Protect Young People, Future Generations and Nature” and with the announcement of our call for papers in a new collection entitled “Responding to Climate Change.” What’s more exciting is that James Hansen will be in attendance at AGU and will be giving a talk today (December 10th) on this topic, in support of taking significant, active measures to reduce fossil fuel emissions.

Last year, at AGU 2012, we were a little bit of an unfamiliar face to many. This year, we hope to continue our conversation with the physical sciences community about our commitment to open access and the publication of sound scientific research in all areas of science and medicine, including geoscience, space science, chemistry, and physics.

After AGU, look out for the PLOS booth again in just a few days at the American Society for Cell Biology!

Image Credit: Detailed view of Arctic Sea Ice in 2007, from NASA Visible Earth.

Public Health Links, Lost in Translation


PLOS is at SpotOn London (#solo13) again this year, taking part in workshops and panels on science communication tools, policy, and outreach. On Friday November 8, I’ll be joined by three PLOS authors and two independent science journalists for a science outreach workshop titled Public Health Links, Lost in Translation. With our moderator, science journalist Suzi Gage (@soozaphone) of the Sifting the Evidence blog on The Guardian, we will address weak links in the science communication “food chain” that contribute to falling vaccination rates, mainly in the UK, Europe, and the US.

For this session, I will be speaking as Editorial Director of PLOS ONE, the world’s largest scientific journal. But the debate around vaccination began before PLOS existed and it has gone on longer than I’ve been involved in science communication. Coming as I do from a background of ‘peddling the evidence,’ it disturbs me when I see evidence ignored in favour of quackery. But I also bring a personal perspective to this issue. As with climate change, it frustrates me that my own actions are not enough to safeguard my children against a threat to their health and safety. Although no vaccine is perfect, every time my children play with others who are intentionally un-vaccinated their risk of contracting preventable contagious diseases increases.

So it seems to me that the aim of this workshop will be to use our combined perspectives – and those of the science community members present – to discuss how we strengthen the links between evidence-based science and the public on vaccines. We aren’t the first and certainly won’t be the last meeting of scientists and science writers to take on this issue, but that doesn’t let us off the hook and excuse us for not trying.

Good and Bad News

The news on vaccines in the UK is not all bad. By summer of 2013, ninety per cent of two-year-old children had received their first dose of the MMR (measles-mumps-rubella) vaccine – the highest level for 13 years according to the Health Protection Agency. This uptake in MMR vaccinations has been a public reaction to widely-reported measles outbreaks in Europe and the UK – suggesting an appropriate public response to highly visible evidence. However, present MMR uptake is still short of the 95% rate that would establish a sufficient level for herd immunity, which would stop the spread of the disease in the community.

The Legacy of MMR

All of us continue to pay the price for the broken public trust that came from the Andrew Wakefield-MMR debacle of the mid-90s. Strong distrust concerning vaccine safety exists not only in rich and middle income countries, but also on the front lines of the Global Polio Eradication Initiative, as my colleagues at PLOS Medicine have covered in depth.

The link between this widespread distrust and falling vaccination rates are clearly established:

New vaccinations for diseases such as HPV, and new approaches to old ones, e.g. targeting different populations to avert new outbreaks of influenza or shingles, increase the challenges for public health practitioners and advocates.

A More Honest System

In many ways, I don’t blame the public for being mistrustful of scientific research – the scientific community and mainstream media make it very hard for people to know what to believe. As Editorial Director of a large journal, I see the entire spectrum of misinterpretation of data. I see original datasets being over-interpreted by authors, in order to get published in top journals. I see journalists taking these papers and adding yet another layer of spin in order to sell them to the public. I see newspaper editors pushing the most shocking articles to the front pages to ensure maximum impact. It’s little wonder that the public are mistrustful.

At PLOS ONE, we are trying to deal with these challenges by encouraging honest reporting of data. By removing the question of ‘novelty’ and ‘impact’ from our review process, we aim to get authors to state simply what they’ve discovered without feeling they have to dress it up in layers of over-interpretation. That drug you’ve discovered kills some cells in a petri dish. Great! Is it a cure for cancer? No. So don’t say it is – we’ll still publish your paper!

We are also very careful about what we release to the press, and how the message is put out. Clearly we can’t stop journalists misinterpreting our papers, but we can at least give the science we publish a decent chance of being reported correctly.

Finally, we track press and blog coverage and add it to the comments of the papers. Combined with our Article-level Metrics, which display a whole array of reactions to the paper and usage statistics, readers can see whether high activity on a paper is a result of heavy media attention, or whether it’s from interest from other researchers.

Certainly the papers most covered in the press are among those that receive the most views, so if we are to affect public attitudes on vaccines or any other highly-charged public health or science issue, we are as dependent on the excellent work of our authors as we are on our colleagues in new and old media. Panelists at this Friday’s SpotOn London 13 workshop represent this wide spectrum. With each bio below, I’ve included some of the research or science writing that will inform our discussion.

Marc Baguelin PhD (@marcbaguelin) is a mathematical modeler working in the Immunisation department at the Health Protection Agency and at the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine on models of influenza transmission, immunization, and control. Marc’s research has been published in the journals Vaccine, Biostatistics, and Emerging Infectious Disease. His latest study, Assessing Optimal Target Populations for Influenza Vaccination Programmes: An Evidence Synthesis and Modelling Study, published in PLOS Medicine, resulted in a change of UK health policy with an extension of the influenza vaccination programme to 2-16 year old children.

Tammy Boyce, PhD (@tamboyce) holds an honorary lecturing post with the Centre for Infection Prevention and Management, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Hospital, London, and was a Research Fellow in Health, Risk, Science and Communication at the Cardiff School of Journalism.  Tammy’s research has been published in Nature Reviews Immunology, and the British Journal of Healthcare Management. She was one of the first to examine public reception of media coverage and the impact the style of reporting has on public opinion and vaccination decisions. From this research, Tammy published the book Health, Risk and News: The MMR Vaccine and the Media (with Peter Lang, 2007). Her latest research article in PLOS ONE examines the role of the school nurse in addressing inequities in HPV vaccine uptake in the UK.

Stephan Lewandowsky PhD (@STWorg) is a cognitive scientist in the School of Experimental Psychology, University of Bristol, UK. His research, published in Nature Climate Change, Journal of Experimental Psychology, and Cognitive Psychology, examines peoples’ memory and decision making with particular emphasis on how people respond to corrections of misinformation. His latest PLOS ONE research article, The Role of Conspiracist Ideation and Worldviews in Predicting Rejection of Science,. studies how conspiracist thinking affects public attitudes towards scientific issues; as Hilda Bastain blogged: a “strong consensus around science can be seen as evidence that ‘they’re all in cahoots’… with vaccination, say, presenting yet more facts or another study could paradoxically confirm their rejection of science.”

Beth Skwarecki (@BethSkw) is an independent science journalist specializing in public health issues who writes for AAAS Science News, and DoubleXScience and blogs on the PLOS BLOGS Network. Recent posts have covered the HPV vaccine’s “image problem” and the role of Twitter in spreading misinformation on the 2009 H1N1 pandemic.

Please add your thoughts and suggest questions for our panel by tweeting to the hashtag #solo13links. You can watch the live stream of the discussion at:

Here is the entire Spot On London 2013 program, FYI. Keep in mind all sessions will be live streamed with the archives kept online thereafter for your viewing.

US Government Shutdown: Possible Effects at PLOS ONE

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Effective as of midnight, October 1st, 2013, the US government is closed for business, which means that all nonessential US federal services and agencies have stopped operating until further notice. Please note that anyone affiliated with a US federal agency may not be working. Below is our understanding of the details and implications for PLOS ONE services. (Any of you who are affiliated with a US government agency, and who may have more accurate information to offer, please do comment.)

Those who work for US federal agencies will not go to work, and we have been informed that some may not access or use email. Therefore, PLOS ONE reviewers and editors employed by or affiliated with the US government may or may not be available to handle manuscripts. The work these folks do for us is voluntaryand much appreciatedbut these services may be directly associated with their US government employment.

We kindly ask all PLOS ONE authors to please be aware that they may experience delays in manuscript handling due to these closures. Editors and reviewers who have already agreed to evaluate a manuscript may not be reachable at this time. We will do our best to keep everyone abreast of the status of their manuscripts, but please feel free to email us with questions or concerns (

A non-exhaustive list of affected agencies is as follows: CDC, DOD, DOE (and all national labs), DOI, EPA, FDA, HHS, NASA, NCBI, NCI, NHGRI, NIH (all institutes, which may affect those at hospitals), NIMH, NIOSH, NIST, NOAA, NSF, USDA, USFS, and USGS.

We apologize for the inconvenience, and hope that all government services will resume shortly.

Image Credit: Photo by saratogajean