When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

Publishing FAQs

Have unanswered questions? Find answers here.

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About PLOS

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit organization to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. We strive to bring scientists together and to share their work as rapidly and as widely as possible, to advance science and to benefit society as a whole. We are constantly looking for ways to use emerging technology and new ideas to open up scientific communication—to make it faster, more efficient, more connected and more useful.

Learn more about PLOS.

PLOS is a nonprofit organization created to serve the interests of scientists and the public good. In contrast to more closed publication models, openness inspires how we think about science and publishing. Openness describes not just free and unrestricted access to research, but also open data sharing, transparency in peer review and an open community approach to science assessment.

Read about our distinguishing Vision and Core Principles.

With rigorous reporting and peer review, PLOS journals are highly respected and influential in all areas of science—from biology to ecology and nanoscience to neuroscience. PLOS works closely with an international team of Academic Editors who are experts in their respective fields and communities to provide authors with an efficient, fair and thorough review process. PLOS gives work the widest possible audience by making it immediately and freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world.

See top reasons Why Authors Publish with PLOS.

Open Access journals today vary widely across a spectrum from Open Access to restricted access based on the core components of reader rights, reuse rights, copyrights and more. All PLOS content is at the highest possible level of Open Access, meaning that scientific articles are immediately and freely available to anyone, anywhere, to be downloaded, printed, distributed, read, reused and remixed (including commercially) without restriction, as long as the author and the original source are properly attributed according to the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).

Learn more about the benefits of Open Access journals.

CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution) is the most accommodating of public copyright licenses as defined by Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that provides legal tools for sharing and use of creative works and research. The CC BY license is recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials. All PLOS content is available under CC BY, meaning anyone is free to use and reuse the content provided the original source and authors are credited.

CC BY is the appropriate license for publicly funded research; it maximizes the potential for both economic and scholarly impact, protects the rights of authors and strengthens the long-standing tradition of appropriate attribution and credit for scholarship.

More than 100,000 authors from over 190 countries, including 64 Nobel Laureates, have published with PLOS. Authors who seek highly respected, peer-reviewed journals that reach the widest possible audience choose to publish with PLOS.

See more reasons Why Authors Publish with PLOS.

Yes. However, Article-Level Metrics (ALMs), which shift the emphasis on impact from the level of the journal as a whole to the level of an individual article, provide a more accurate, evolving and complete way to assess article impact. We believe that articles should be judged on their own merit not on the basis of the journal in which they were published. ALMs also reveal the influence of an article before the accumulation of citations.

Learn more about ALMs.

Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) measure the reach and impact of individual articles using both academic and social sources, highlighting the many ways in which both scientists and the general public are engaging with the research. This includes downloads, citations, blogs, media coverage, social media shares, comments and Wikipedia mentions. ALMs reveal the influence of an article before the accumulation of citations, help prioritize what to read in the growing body of Open Access literature and help assess the impact of funding sources. ALMs shift the conversation surrounding an article’s influence away from the journal and toward the individual article.

Learn more about ALMs.

PLOS Editorial Information

PLOS publishes a suite of Open Access journals across all areas of science and medicine: PLOS Biology, PLOS Climate, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Digital Health, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Global Public Health, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, PLOS ONE, PLOS Pathogens, PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, and PLOS Water.

All journals are peer reviewed, featuring quality research, expert commentary and critical analysis. Each journal is editorially independent and specialized with regard to both its selection criteria and breadth of content.

Learn more about each journal’s scope.

All PLOS journals are peer reviewed. PLOS upholds the highest international standards for research ethics, publication ethics and scientific reporting. From the start, PLOS instituted a rigorous peer review process, and the care that PLOS takes in reporting and oversight is rooted in a firm commitment to editorial responsibility. PLOS works closely with an international team of over 7,000 academic editors and 74,000 reviewers who are experts in their respective fields and communities to provide authors with an efficient, fair and thorough review process.

If you are interested in reviewing for PLOS ONE see Becoming a Reviewer. If you are interested in reviewing for any of the other eleven PLOS journals, please send an email to the general journal contact

Please see the individual journal contact for specific questions.

PLOS Submissions, Review and Publication

Please see the overview of steps to a successful submission.

No, there are no limits on manuscript length or numbers of figures in PLOS journal articles.

PLOS ONE does not accept pre-submission inquiries and only PLOS Medicine requires them. Pre-submission inquiries are optional for the remaining journals PLOS Biology, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens. If your manuscript is not ready for submission, but you’d like to inquire about the suitability of your study for PLOS Biology, please email a referenced summary of the research to plosbiology@plos.org.

PLOS strives to provide a seamless transfer between its journals at the author’s choosing. Authors may request a transfer of a submitted article from one PLOS journal to another. Please contact the journal in question for further information.

Yes. The PLOS Embargo Policy serves scientists, journalists and the public by providing fair and equal access to our published articles. Accepted manuscripts are under embargo until 2 PM Eastern Time, US, on the date of publication. This is the time when the article becomes available online. Stories or reports on accepted articles may not be published, broadcast, posted online or placed in the public domain before the embargo date and time. Precise embargo dates and times will be clearly marked on all advance material.

Learn more about the PLOS Embargo Policy.

All published articles are deposited in PubMed Central. PLOS content is also indexed widely by services such as Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar and others.

Yes. PLOS Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) measure the reach and impact of every PLOS article from both academic and social sources, including downloads, citations, blogs, media coverage, social media shares, comments and Wikipedia mentions. This enables you to track the many ways in which both scientists and the general public engage with your published work. ALMs reveal the influence of an article before the accumulation of citations and provide an evolving and complete picture of an article’s reach.

Learn more about ALMs.

PLOS journals feature an online commenting system that all readers, authors and editors are encouraged to view and use; comments are visible directly on the article. Simply sign into or register for a PLOS account and get started.


Publication Fees & Fee Assistance

PLOS articles are Open Access, which means that, upon publication, articles are immediately and freely available online to read, distribute and reuse. To offset costs associated with peer review management, journal production and online hosting and archiving, PLOS charges a publication fee, also known as an Article Processing Charge (APC).

Publication fees vary by journal and are payable for articles upon acceptance.

Publication fees are subject to change.  The APC is charged at the applicable rates effective on your submission date.

If you received an invoice from PLOS, you can pay it here.

Payment is due when PLOS accepts the article for publication. Learn more about PLOS publication fees and fee assistance .

The person who submits the manuscript is responsible for the publication fee payment. Learn more about PLOS publication fees and fee assistance.

Yes. The PLOS Global Participation and Publication Fee Assistance programs provide full or partial support to authors. We believe that lack of funds should not be a barrier to Open Access publication. 

  • PLOS Global Participation Initiative (GPI), for low- and middle-income countries
    Authors’ research that is funded primarily (50% or more) by an institution or organization from eligible low- and middle-income countries will receive partial (Group 2 countries) or full (Group 1 countries) funding paid by the PLOS Global Participation Initiative (GPI). Group 2 country authors who need to request additional support should apply for PLOS Publication Fee Assistance instead of the PLOS GPI.
  • PLOS Publication Fee Assistance (PFA)
    PLOS provides direct fee assistance through its Publication Fee Assistance (PFA) program, created for authors unable to pay all or part of their publication fees. 

PFA Program details

  • An author’s application for PFA must be made when they submit an article for publication. A decision is communicated usually within 10 business days. PLOS considers applications on a case-by-case basis.
  • Authors should exhaust all alternative funding sources before applying for PFA. The application form includes questions on the availability of alternative funding sources such as the authors’ or co-authors’ institution, institutional library, government agencies and research funders. Funding disclosure information provided by authors will be used as part of the PFA application review.
  • PLOS publication decisions will continue to be based solely on editorial criteria. Information about an applicant’s application for fee assistance will not be disclosed to journal editors or reviewers. 
  • Assistance must be formally applied for at submission.  Requests made during the review process or after acceptance will not be considered.  Authors cannot apply for the fee assistance by email or through direct request to journal editors. 

For more information, see the PLOS Global Participation Initiative FAQs.

PLOS offers individual fee support through the PLOS Global Participation Initiative (GPI) for authors from eligible low- and middle-income countries. Authors’ research that is funded primarily (50% or more of the work contained within the article) by an institution or organization from eligible countries will receive partial (Group 2 countries) or full (Group 1 countries) funding paid by the PLOS Global Participation Initiative. Group 2 PLOS GPI country authors who need to request additional support should apply for PLOS PFA instead of the PLOS GPI.

For more information, see the PLOS Global Participation Initiative FAQs.

PLOS offers an Institutional Account Program to assist institutions in providing financial support to their researchers. Participating institutions have arrangements with PLOS to administer payment for full APCs for their authors. Note to authors: Certain institutions will restrict payment coverage to specific grant recipients or PLOS journal only.

To be eligible, an author must be a corresponding author affiliated with the institution or agency in the PLOS Institutional Account Program

Authors may also be eligible for direct funding from their institution or funder, separate from the PLOS Institutional Program. Learn more about funding options, or see a list of institutions, compiled by PLOS, with Open Access funds. To confirm amounts and details of funding and eligibility, authors should contact their organization directly.

Authors from institutions with restricted funds who need additional support — and have no other means of funding — may apply for PLOS Publication Fee Assistance.

Funding assistance for PLOS publications fees, also known as Article Processing Charges (APCs), is available from many organizations including institutions, research centers, foundations, government institutions and from PLOS itself.

Institutional Account Program

To be eligible for full payment of publications fees, one must be the corresponding author primarily affiliated with the participating institution or agency in the Institutional Account Program. Each institution reserves the right to accept or reject who they will fund per their internal funding policies. If an institution chooses to reject the payment for Article Processing Charges (APCs), PLOS will invoice the authors individually, who retain full payment responsibility.

Note to authors: certain institutions will restrict payment coverage to specific grant recipients or PLOS journal only. Please refer to program participant list for more information.  

Visit the Institutional Account Program web page or contact institutionalaccounts@plos.org to set up a plan or to get additional information.

PLOS Institutional Partnerships

PLOS Community Action Publishing

Community Action Publishing is a type of “collective action” business model that can equitably distribute the cost of selective, Open Access publishing among institutions rather than charging high APCs to individual authors.

Collective action is predicated on the assumption that entities that work together as a group – or collective – can achieve outcomes more effectively than working individually. 

In the case of PLOS MedicinePLOS Biology, and PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, the community goal is to cover the costs of the journals (plus a 10% capped margin) by equitably distributing cost among the institutions of both corresponding and contributing authors. Members of the collective can eliminate or reduce their authors’ publication fees

PLOS Community Action Publishing (CAP) ensures publication fees for accepted manuscripts at PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine, and PLOS Sustainability and Transformation will automatically be covered if the authors’ institutions are members of our journal communities.

Community Action Publishing takes into account the contributions of every author — not just corresponding authors — to help distribute publishing costs equitably among the institutions who support them. This ensures institutional members are charged a fair fee based solely on their authors’ publishing history. Their membership guarantees funding for their authors’ future publications

Community Action Publishing is only available for PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine, and PLOS Sustainability and Transformation. However, each of our other PLOS journals offers an APC-alternative model that provides a way for institutions to cover their authors’ publishing costs.

If you are planning to submit to a different PLOS journal, check out our institutional partners page to find out if your institution provides automatic fee support. 

We’re working with institutions to make sure authors receive notifications and guides to accessing their benefits when their institution joins either of our journal communities.

To check your institution’s current membership status, view the list of our current partners here.

Both corresponding and coauthor membership plays a role in assessing non-member fees. If all authors of a manuscript are members, their publication fees are already covered. If you are the corresponding author and your institution is a member, we are currently waiving the non-member fee. If the corresponding author is not a member, but some of the coauthors are, the corresponding authors will be subject to the new non-member fee, with a 25% discount.

Community Action Publishing can eliminate author publication fees entirely if a majority of our frequent-use institutions join.

If all authors of a manuscript are members, their publication fees are automatically covered. If you are the corresponding author and your institution is a member, we are currently waiving the non-member fee.

If you are the corresponding author, and your institution is a member, we will waive your publication fees even if your co-authors are not currently members. 

Upon submitting your manuscript to either PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine, or PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, be sure to list your institutional affiliation in our submission system, Editorial Manager. If your work is accepted for publication, we’ll check this field and ensure that your benefits are applied to any publication fees. 

If you are the corresponding author, or if all authors of the manuscripts are members, your publication fees are automatically covered. If the corresponding author is not a member, but at least one of the manuscript’s co-authors is a member, you’ll receive a 25% discount towards the non-member fee. 

After submission, corresponding authors receive an estimate from our billing system, Copyright Clearance Center, indicating the expected publication fees based on the current membership status of each author. If any author’s institution joins our journal communities before your work is accepted, your actual publication fee could be less. Results of any application to our Publication Fee Assistance program will not be shown in this estimate.

If a corresponding author is not a member, their manuscript is subject to a non-member fee. However, if one or more of your co-authors is a member, their participation provides a 25% discount.

Authors whose institutions have not yet joined our journal communities will be subject to an increased non-member fee for new manuscripts submitted and accepted for publication after January 5, 2022.

Authors who submit their work in 2021 (to PLOS Biology or PLOS Medicine) will be charged the 2021 publication fee, even if their work is published in 2022. 

Below is a breakdown of current fees based on article type and submission date.

  PLOS Biology PLOS Medicine PLOS Sustainability and Transformation
Article Type Manuscripts submitted before Jan 5, 2022 Manuscripts submitted after Jan 5, 2022 Manuscripts submitted before Jan 5, 2022 Manuscripts submitted after Jan 5, 2022 All submissions
Research Article:  4,000 USD 5,300 USD 4,000 USD 5,300 USD 3,000 USD
Discovery Report: 3,350 USD 4,500 USD      
Update Article: 2,250 USD 3,000 USD      


We believe publication cost should never be a barrier for authors who want to make their work Open Access. Under this new model, authors primarily based in Research4Life countries are automatically included in both memberships and will not face publication fees. Our fee waiver program is also available to assist any author who is unable to pay publication fees.

We’re reaching out to every institution whose authors frequently publish PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine, as well as institutions with historical research output in fields covered in PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, to help us build this new model for Open Access, and eliminate fees for their authors. 

Hearing from authors like you can help. You can contact your institution directly, or use this form to refer your librarian to us.

If you’ve already submitted a manuscript, you can still encourage your institutions to join at any point while your submission is in process. If your institution joins the journal community before your work is accepted, their support will apply to your current work, as well as your future publications. 

Institutions commit to a one-year membership (January 1 — December 31) when they join either of our communities and can renew their membership each year. Institutions that join either model partway through the calendar year will still need to renew their membership on December 31 to continue their authors’ benefits. 

We encourage institutions to join for at least three years to maintain consistency for their authors and realize the benefits of broader community support. Institutions’ membership fees are re-assessed each year based on their authors’ most recent publication activity.

Institutions who join either journal community commit to a one-year membership. If an institution decides to drop out of the agreement during that time, authors will still receive membership benefits for any manuscript accepted before the remainder of that year. After the end of the term, authors may be subject to non-member fees, but you can encourage your institution to rejoin at any point.

Beginning in 2021, PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine began a staggered 3-year increase of non-member fees that would reflect the true cost of publishing in those journals by 2023 (the non-member fee for PLOS Sustainability and Transformation will remain fixed during this period). As is routine for publishers, fee assessments may occur as needed following this period to keep pace with current costs. Authors may be responsible for non-member fees if their institutions are not members of the CAP communities.

We’ve made the decision to increase fees slowly, in order to give institutions in the scholarly community time to transition to a new model for Open Access. If a majority of the institutions whose authors publish frequently in our journals join CAP, we can eliminate author publication fees altogether. 

We believe publication cost should never be a barrier for authors who want to make their work Open Access. Under this new model, authors primarily based in Research4Life countries will automatically have their publication fees covered and our fee waiver program is available to assist any author who is unable to pay publication fees. 

For authors whose institutions are CAP members, new partnership benefits will apply to manuscripts that receive an “Accept” decision anytime after January 1, 2021. Because the peer review and editorial process takes several weeks, submissions currently in review, or submitted before December 31, 2020 will likely not receive a final “Accept” decision until early 2021, in which case your manuscript will be eligible for CAP benefits.

You should submit your manuscript whenever you feel it’s ready for publication. Your institution can join either of our journal communities at any point while your submission is in process and we’ll make sure those benefits apply to your accepted work.

PLOS Flat Fee Agreements

Through our Flat Fee agreement, institutions help ensure all authors have equal access to make their work Open at PLOS, regardless of individual funding resources. Their support significantly reduces or eliminates publication costs for corresponding authors at PLOS ONE, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Digital Health, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS Pathogens.

Some institutions may choose to require an author surcharge to offset their annual fee. This allows institutions to make use of the authors’ traditional grant funding streams as they transition to a relatively new system of Open Access publication support. PLOS will continue to provide publication fee assistance to any author who is unable to pay the author surcharge.

You can check to see if your institution is a partner, and view any applicable fees, by viewing our list of institutional partners.

Flat Fee benefits are applied to corresponding authors at affiliated institutions. To check whether your institution is a partner, view our list of institutional partners.

All publications in PLOS ONE, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Digital Health, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS Pathogens are included in the Flat Fee agreement.

*Our current Flat Fee partners are automatically included in our partnership models for PLOS Sustainability and TransformationPLOS ClimatePLOS Global Public Health, and PLOS Water. Researchers at these institutions will not face publication fees at these journals

Yes. Flat Fee participation covers all article types at any of the eligible journals, including any new article types that become available during the agreement period. 

Researchers may still be responsible for any author surcharges an institution has elected to include. 

Upon submitting your manuscript to any of the eligible PLOS journals, be sure to list your institutional affiliation in our submission system, Editorial Manager. If your work is accepted for publication, we’ll check this field and ensure that your benefits are applied to waive or reduce any publication fees.

Hearing from authors like you can help. You can contact your institution directly, or use this form to refer your librarian to us

Through our Flat Fee model, institutions are able to eliminate or reduce publication costs for their authors’ publications in PLOS ONE, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Digital Health, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS Pathogens. Institutions may choose to provide similar benefits to their authors publishing in PLOS Biology or PLOS Medicine through Community Action Publishing or to PLOS Climate, PLOS Global Public Health, and PLOS Water through our Global Equity model.

For most authors, the benefits of each model are the same. Our institutional partnership models aim to provide a path to Open Access publishing for authors who lack funding for publication fees. Our models are customized to meet the publication needs of the researchers publishing in those journals, as well as the resources of the institutions who support them.

PLOS is currently experimenting with different models focusing on addressing specific problems in Open Access publishing. PLOS Community Action Publishing (CAP) specifically aims to address the high cost of selective journals through broader, more equitable distribution of costs. Our Flat Fee model reduces administrative overhead for both institutions and authors while reducing or eliminating publication fees for authors. 

All of our institutional partnership models aim to make Open Access more accessible to authors of all backgrounds and funding circumstances, and we believe institutions are key partners in this work. By iterating in small steps, with a diversity of business models, we can gather information about what’s working, report our results, and use our learnings to improve future offerings. 

PLOS Global Equity Model

Our new Global Equity model empowers institutions in every region of the world to provide unlimited publication support for their authors through a single, annual fee that is equitable, and affordable. Participation fees are based on each institution’s historical research output in the field and are reflective of their regional economy according to their country’s World Bank lending tier.

Institutions can choose to participate in this model individually for PLOS Climate, PLOS Global Public Health, and/or PLOS Water. If your institution is a partner, and your manuscript is accepted by the journal, you will not face any publication fees.

Institutions can choose to participate in this model individually for PLOS Climate, PLOS Global Public Health, and/or PLOS Water

We’re reaching out to institutions to encourage participation in this new model. You’ll be able to check to see if your institution is a partner by viewing our list of Institutional Accounts Participants.

Please note, our current Flat Fee partners are automatically included in our partnership models for PLOS Sustainability and Transformation, PLOS Climate, PLOS Global Public Health, and PLOS Water. Researchers at these institutions will not face publication fees at these journals.

Institutions geographically located in Research4Life countries are also automatically included as members in this model. Researchers at these institutions will never face publication fees at PLOS Climate, PLOS Global Public Health, or PLOS Water.

Upon submitting your manuscript to either PLOS Climate, PLOS Global Public Health, or PLOS Water, be sure to list your institutional affiliation in our submission system, Editorial Manager. If your work is accepted for publication, we’ll check this field and ensure that your benefits are applied to any publication fees.

Encourage your institution to join:
We’re reaching out to institutions whose authors frequently publish in fields covered by PLOS Climate, PLOS Global Public Health, or PLOS Water to participate in this model, and eliminate fees for their authors. 

Hearing from authors like you can help. You can contact your institution directly, or use this form to refer your librarian to us.

If you’ve already submitted a manuscript, you can still encourage your institutions to join at any point while your submission is in process. If your institution joins the journal community before your work is accepted, their support will apply to your current work, as well as your future publications. 

Publication Fee Assistance:
We believe publication cost should never be a barrier for authors who want to make their work Open Access. Under this new model, authors primarily based in Research4Life countries are automatically included in the partnerships for all three journals and will not face publication fees. 

Our publication fee assistance program is also available to assist any author who is unable to pay publication fees. Authors should apply for publication fee assistance at submission.

Our Global Equity model provides opportunities for institutions who may not have published with PLOS before to partner with us in eliminating publication fees for their authors in either PLOS Climate, PLOS Global Public Health, or PLOS Water. Participation fees are based on an institution’s historical research output in the relevant journal topic areas and are reflective of the institution’s regional economy.

Institutions may choose to provide similar benefits to their authors publishing in other PLOS journals through our Community Action Publishing or Flat Fee agreements. 

For most authors, the benefits of each model are the same. Our aim is to provide a path to Open Access publishing for authors who lack funding for publication fees. Our diverse partnership models are tailored to the publication needs and regional economies of researchers in that field.

PLOS is currently experimenting with different models focusing on addressing specific problems in Open Access publishing. Our Global Equity model is specifically designed to remove financial barriers for researchers and institutions around the world to participate in Open Access and Open Science, encouraging diverse, equitable representation of all research perspectives in addressing vital, global challenges.

PLOS Community Action Publishing (CAP) specifically aims to address the high cost of selective journals through broader, more equitable distribution of costs. Our Flat Fee model reduces administrative overhead for both institutions and authors while reducing or eliminating publication fees for authors. 

All of our institutional partnership models aim to make Open Access more accessible to authors of all backgrounds and funding circumstances, and we believe institutions are key partners in this work. By iterating in small steps, with a diversity of business models, we can gather information about what’s working, report our results, and use our learnings to improve future offerings.

Research4Life

Publication in any PLOS journal is free for authors whose research is funded primarily (50% or more of the work contained within the article) by an institution located in a Research4Life Group A country.

Authors whose research funder is based in a Research4Life Group B country also publish for free in PLOS Biology, PLOS Climate, PLOS Global Public Health, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Sustainability and Transformation and PLOS Water. For all other journals, the publication fee will be reduced to $500.

Authors must indicate they require Research4Life fee assistance at the time of manuscript submission. Authors from Group B countries who need additional support should apply for PLOS Publication Fee Assistance instead of Research4Life.

Eligibility for Research4Life publishing benefits is based on the country that provided the research funding, not the country the author is from.

Example 1:

If an author is from Ghana and the research funding is sourced from the country’s government, the author will qualify for Group A and the publication fee will be fully covered.

Example 2:

If an author from Ghana receives primary research funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the United States, the author will not be eligible for Group A rates. The author will be charged the standard publication fee and will be ineligible for PLOS Research4Life coverage, because the research funding was provided by a country not included on the Research4Life list—in this case the US.

Should a non-Research4Life-based author apply for Research4Life coverage, the author will be invoiced in full and Research4Life eligibility review will be conducted after receipt of invoice. If found ineligible, author is expected to pay standard fees.

PLOS’ Research4Life publishing benefits are determined by answering questions during the manuscript submission process.

Authors must apply for Research4Life coverage at time of manuscript submission.  PLOS Group B country authors who need to request additional support should apply for PLOS Publication Fee Assistance instead.. 

PLOS Publication Fee Assistance Program

Since the organization’s inception, PLOS has provided direct fee assistance through the PLOS Publication Fee Assistance (PFA) program created for authors unable to pay all or part of their publication fees.

To apply, complete the PFA application, which is part of the manuscript submission process.

The application includes questions on the availability of alternative funding sources from the authors’ institution, funders, foundations and government agencies or other funding sources.

Authors must complete and submit the PFA application as part of article submission. Requests made during the review process or after acceptance will not be considered. Authors cannot apply for PFA by email or by via direct request to journal editors.

PLOS will make a decision usually within 10 business days of receiving an application.

The Publication Fee Assistance (PFA) program is intended for authors who demonstrate financial need. The first step in preparing for a PFA application is to investigate and exhaust all available alternative funding sources prior to applying. It is the author’s obligation to confirm amounts and details of funding and eligibility directly with their respective organization.

Be prepared to answer questions on alternative funding sources from your institution(s) and/or other funders, foundations and government agencies or other funding sources.

As part of PLOS’ case review process, we consider the answers provided in the PFA application, the manuscript funding disclosure and coauthor affiliations. PLOS may request additional information and/or request supporting documentation to help determine an author’s eligibility for PFA.

No, PLOS’ publication decision will continue to be based solely on editorial criteria. Information about an author’s application for fee assistance will not be disclosed to journal editors or reviewers.

The purpose of the PFA application is to identify those with demonstrated need due to lack of alternative sources of support from their institution, funders, foundations, government agencies or other sources. The application includes detailed questions on the availability of alternative funding sources for which authors may be eligible. Funding disclosures and coauthor affiliations will be reviewed as part of the application process.

Unsubstantiated applications are systematically denied. PFA decisions are final.

Yes, manuscripts may be withdrawn when notified of the PFA decision by sending an email to PFA@plos.org. Unless the manuscript is withdrawn, authors are obligated to pay the publication fee as determined through the PFA application process. Nonpayment will impact future submissions.

Preprint FAQs

A preprint is a version of a scientific manuscript posted on a public server prior to formal peer review. As soon as it’s posted, each preprint becomes a permanent part of the scientific record, citable with its own unique DOI.

Preprints support efficient and inclusive scientific communication. Publicly sharing a research manuscript before peer review surfaces results sooner, opens opportunities for collaboration and feedback, and increases efficiency. Enabling researchers to post and comment on preprints removes blockers to knowledge exchange, allowing everyone to participate on their own terms. Including more of the research community expands both the scientific record and the pool of experts critically assessing it, forging new connections and supporting high-quality research.

Explore more reasons to preprint.

PLOS has a longstanding partnership with Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL) that includes integrations with bioRxiv, the preprint server for the life sciences, and medRxiv, the preprint server for medical and public health research. These integrations allow us to accept incoming transfers from either server to the PLOS journals, and to forward submitted manuscripts to be posted as preprints on behalf of the authors. We encourage authors working outside medicine or the life sciences to post preprints on the most appropriate server for their field. PLOS is exploring partnering with more preprint servers.

See current journal/server integrations.

Each PLOS journal submission form includes a question about preprints. If a preprint already exists for the article, authors may enter the DOI into our system at this stage. If not, authors can choose to have their manuscript forwarded to either medRxiv or bioRxiv, depending upon subject area relevance and specific journal integrations. All preprint submissions are screened prior to posting, either by CSHL or PLOS. Most will appear on the chosen server within a few days.

We are only able to facilitate posting of preprints at the point of initial submission to a PLOS journal. Unfortunately, we are unable to send revised manuscripts or transferred submissions to bioRxiv. Authors who do not opt in to preprint posting at submission are however free to post their preprint themselves, after submission to PLOS journals.

Yes, you are encouraged to update your preprint with the most up-to-date version as your manuscript evolves and improves right up until the final version is published in a journal.

To make changes to a preprint that PLOS has posted to bioRxiv or medRxiv on your behalf, you will need to register for a server account using the same email address associated with your Editorial Manager account. 

Yes. Even if you do not opt in to PLOS posting your manuscript to bioRxiv or medRxiv, we encourage you to submit your manuscript to a preprint server directly. Many other preprint servers exist. Visit the Open Science Foundation’s (OSF) preprint page for a list of servers. Some preprint servers accept preprints from any research study, while others are specific to geographical regions or research disciplines.

Great! PLOS fully supports authors posting directly on preprint servers. You are also able to submit your manuscript to PLOS journals directly from bioRxiv and medRxiv. To do so, log into your author area on either preprint server and click “Submit Preprint to a Journal or Peer Review Service”. Then simply select the PLOS journal you wish to send your research to and click Submit.

Once a preprint is publicly available it becomes a permanent part of the scientific record and cannot be removed. However, it is possible to revise the manuscript with the most recent version at any time prior to publication in a journal. When the final article is published the two versions are linked, providing insight into the evolution of your manuscript.

Yes, preprints are a citable part of the scientific record. All preprints are given a permanent DOI, which should be used when adding to the reference list of a manuscript or grant application. Please see the individual journal Submission Guidelines pages for details on how to format preprints as references.

PLOS applies a Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to all our published articles, and preprints posted through PLOS are no different. Creative Commons licenses and legal tools help break down the barriers to sharing by communicating rights and permissions up front. A permissive license such as CC BY allows full and immediate access, as well as innovative reuse of content. This simple, 1-page infographic can be helpful in explaining at a glance the differences in licensing choices for preprints.

Most journals accept submissions that have already been posted on a preprint server, including major commercial and society publishers. However there are a few that do not. There is a list of academic publishers by preprint policy available on Wikipedia, but please note that we cannot guarantee the accuracy of this page.

Once your article has been published, the preprint will automatically display a link to the published version at the journal where it was accepted. Manuscripts published by PLOS will also have a link back to the preprint so that it is possible to view previous iterations of the work.

All PLOS articles, including papers previously posted as preprints, are under embargo until 2 p.m. Eastern Time, USA, on the date of publication.

Our embargoes enable authors to achieve accurate, high-quality media coverage which disseminates their peer-reviewed research to non-expert readers. They ensure that peer-reviewed published articles are accessible to everyone when first reported in the media.

Once your research has been accepted and assigned a publication date, it is subject to embargo. You may discuss your research under embargo with journalists and other members of the media, and you should inform journalists of the embargo in all your communications. We discourage actively seeking publicity for your research before that point. If you do choose to discuss your research at the preprint stage, you should stress that your work is still undergoing peer review and you may not disclose the journal where the work is under consideration.

Discussion of research prior to publication, whether in the scientific community or in the media, will not affect editorial decisions to publish work in a PLOS journal. However, prior coverage in the media may affect if and how PLOS promotes that research at the time of publication.

Prior to posting preprints are carefully screened by either PLOS or Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory (CSHL). Checks include scope, offensive or inflammatory language, potentially identifying information, and Dual Use Research of Concern (DURC). A prominent notice appears on both the html and PDF versions of each preprint alerting readers to it’s peer review status. After a preprint is published in a journal, the notice is updated to include a link to the final peer-reviewed version.

There is no evidence that posting a preprint will lead to your research being scooped. In fact, preprints can be used to establish priority for a discovery prior to formal publication in a journal. Visit ASAPbio to learn more.

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