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Journal Information

PLOS ONE is an inclusive journal community working together to advance science for the benefit of society, now and in the future. Founded with the aim of accelerating the pace of scientific advancement and demonstrating its value, we believe all rigorous science needs to be published and discoverable, widely disseminated and freely accessible to all.

The research we publish is multidisciplinary and, often, interdisciplinary. PLOS ONE accepts research in over two hundred subject areas across science, engineering, medicine, and the related social sciences and humanities. We evaluate submitted manuscripts on the basis of methodological rigor and high ethical standards, regardless of perceived novelty. Read more about our publication criteria.

Under the editorial oversight of Editor-in-Chief Joerg Heber, our in-house staff editors partner with an international board of Academic Editors to thoroughly review each submission.

Why Researchers Choose PLOS ONE

Robust selection process

PLOS ONE editors evaluate research on the basis of scientific validity, rigorous methodology, and high ethical standards, with the aim of making all well-conducted research freely available.

“I published with PLOS ONE because I love the idea that acceptance is based on quality of the work, not whether it's trendy or important in the eyes of a few editors.”

- Alison Turnbull, Outcomes After Critical Illness and Surgery (OACIS) Group, Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, United States of America


PLOS ONE is the journal of choice for authors who want their research to be available to all, immediately and without restriction. Articles are highly discoverable and accessible to researchers both in and outside of their discipline. Our active press program places articles in high profile global media outlets such as the Huffington Post (67 mentions in 2018), National Geographic (87 mentions in 2018), and Scientific American (46 mentions in 2018).

Multi-disciplinary assessment

With more than 20,000 new authors joining the PLOS ONE community every year in over 200 research areas, PLOS ONE facilitates connections within and between disciplines

Timely publication

We know that prompt editorial assessment and publication are important to scientific advancement. In line with our founding mission, we do all we can to ensure a fast and thorough review process, and we're always working to improve. We're proud to share our recent progress.

  Jul - Dec 18 Jan - Jun 19 Jul - Dec 19 Jan - Jun 20
Time to First Editorial Decision (Rejection or Peer Review) 14 13 13 12
Time to First Decision 49 43 47 44
Time to Final Decision (Rejection or Acceptance) 99 84 88.5 83
Time to Acceptance 166 157 141 144
Time to Publication 178 171 162 169
Time from Acceptance to Publication 10  9 9 13
Desk Rejections without peer review (%) 22.5% 26.3% 22.3% 23.0%
Acceptance Rate* 48.1% 46.9%    
All times are in days and are median numbers
*Acceptance rates are calculated from submission cohorts and are therefore only available with delay

“Everything was very fast from the time I sent the article to the time I got the first review and later on with the two rebuttal letters, plus modifications I sent. The reviewers were quite rigorous and that substantially improved our manuscript and we are definitely grateful for that.”

- José Ribamar Ferreira-Júnior, Escola de Artes, Ciências e Humanidades, Universidade de São Paulo, São Paulo, Brazil


The PLOS ONE community paved the way with open access. Now we’re doing the same with open science.

PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works we publish. Under this license, anyone may access, copy, distribute, or reuse these articles, as long as the author and original source are properly cited.

Throughout the peer review and publication process, the PLOS ONE research community enjoys additional opportunities to engage in openness and transparency, including enhanced author attribution and identification through the CRediT authorship taxonomy and ORCID iD, publicly posted protocols and data sets, optional preprint posting, and optional published peer review history.

“I see the Open Access movement as a means by which scientific inquiry and discovery can truly serve the community at large, rather than being locked behind paywalls and accessible only to academic insiders. By promoting free and open exchange of information, research findings can be more easily applied to solve pressing real-world problems.”

- Serge Wiltshire, Food Systems, University of Vermont, Burlington, Vermont, United States of America

Meaningful metrics

Rather than relying exclusively on journal-level metrics such as the Impact Factor, PLOS offers individualized Article-Level Metrics reflecting the viewership, download rates, social sharing, and citations for each article we publish in real time, helping you illustrate the impact of your research.


Types of articles

PLOS ONE welcomes original research submissions from the natural sciences, medical research, engineering, as well as the related social sciences and humanities, including:

  • Primary research that contributes to the base of scientific knowledge, including interdisciplinary, replication studies, and negative or null results.

  • Systematic reviews whose methods ensure the comprehensive and unbiased sampling of existing literature.

  • Submissions describing methods, software, databases, or other tools that meet the journal’s criteria for utility, validation and availability.

  • Qualitative research that adheres to appropriate study design and reporting guidelines.

Participate in a Call for Papers to be published as part of a highly visible PLOS Collection. View our Calls for Papers and  learn more about publishing in a Collection.

Criteria for Publication

  1. The study presents the results of original research.
  2. Results reported have not been published elsewhere.
  3. Experiments, statistics, and other analyses are performed to a high technical standard and are described in sufficient detail.
  4. Conclusions are presented in an appropriate fashion and are supported by the data.
  5. The article is presented in an intelligible fashion and is written in standard English.
  6. The research meets all applicable standards for the ethics of experimentation and research integrity.
  7. The article adheres to appropriate reporting guidelines and community standards for data availability.

Peer Review at PLOS ONE

PLOS ONE is a fully peer reviewed journal with a rigorous multi-stage editorial screening and assessment process.

First, we undertake an initial in-house quality check to identify potential issues such as competing interest, compliance with ethical standards for studies involving human and animal subjects, financial disclosures, data availability, and other scientific and policy requirements. Submissions may be returned to authors for changes or clarifications at this stage.

After passing quality control, each manuscript is placed with a member of the Editorial Board who conducts peer review and makes the decision to accept, invite revision, or reject the submitted manuscript. Read the detailed Editorial and Peer Review Process overview.

Ready to Submit?

Submission Guidelines

Submission System


Publication Fees

PLOS ONE publication fees vary based on article type and will be billed upon acceptance. Authors’ ability to pay publication fees will never be a consideration in the decision whether to publish. You can find a full list of our publication fees and fee assistance information here

Open Access

PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to works we publish. Under this license, authors agree to make articles legally available for reuse, without permission or fees, for virtually any purpose. Anyone may copy, distribute, or reuse these articles, as long as the author and original source are properly cited. Learn more.

Journal Impact and Article Metrics

PLOS does not consider Impact Factor to be a reliable or useful metric to assess the performance of individual articles. PLOS supports DORA – the San Francisco Declaration on Research Assessment – and does not promote our journal Impact Factors. We will provide the metric to individuals when specifically requested.

Read more about our pledge with DORA.

PLOS promotes the use of Article-Level Metrics (ALMs), which enable scientists and the general public to engage more dynamically with published research. ALMs reflect the changing impact of research over time, incorporate academic as well as social impacts of research, and assess the impact of research before the accrual of academic citations. Read more about ALMs.

Indexing and Archiving

See publishing details for all PLOS journal titles, including ISSN and indexing and archiving information.


PLOS is a nonprofit, Open Access publisher empowering researchers to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication.


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