Ask everyONE: The PLoS ONE Production Process

Here is our featured author question for June:

My manuscript has just been accepted for publication in PLoS ONE. What happens next?

So, you’ve just received the good news from the Academic Editor handling your manuscript that your paper has been tentatively accepted for publication in PLoS ONE—now what? We’ve summarised some of the next stages below but please do also read carefully the acceptance email you receive from the Academic Editor, as well as any correspondence from our production staff as these contain important information about the production and publication process.

  1. Once your manuscript has been deemed suitable for publication in PLoS ONE, it will be sent to our production staff so that they can ensure that it meets all of our technical requirements. For example, are the figures in the correct format and at the correct resolution? Are the references formatted correctly? Have all the specific contributions of each author been recorded in the journal management system? Our author guidelines and figure and table guidelines contain a lot more detail about these requirements and we encourage all authors to read these carefully before submitting a manuscript to PLoS ONE.
  2. While your manuscript is being checked by the production staff, you won’t be able to make any changes to your manuscript files. If you have spotted any typos or other mistakes in your manuscript or in the submission form, don’t worry: you will be able to correct these once you have been notified by our production team.
  3. When the production checks are finished, you will receive an email containing a list of any format changes that need to be made prior to publication. At this stage, your manuscript will be returned to the author approval folder within the online manuscript submission system and you will be able to log on and to upload the final version of your files.
  4. Your manuscript will not be subject to detailed copy editing—please see this list of scientific editing services if you feel your manuscript would benefit from professional copy-editing. Obtaining this service is the responsibility of the author.
  5. Please note that there is no author proofing stage in the PLoS ONE production system so it is very important that you check through all of your files and data to make sure you are fully satisfied with everything before you submit the final version of your manuscript—once you have approved your files, you may not have a further opportunity to make any changes. Silly as it may sound, we particularly encourage the corresponding author to ensure that all of the author names and affiliations are spelled correctly as it is their responsibility—on behalf of their co-authors—to ensure all the information is accurate.
  6. Once you have submitted the final version of your manuscript, our production staff will check it again to ensure all of their requests have been addressed. If so, they will move your manuscript into our production system. The text of PLoS ONE manuscripts is not copy edited, although our staff do perform a light copy-edit of the title and abstract. They may also make some minor format changes to your title (e.g. putting it into lower case and title case), affiliations (for each affiliation, we only show the department, organization, city, state, and country—we encourage authors to remove any extra information during the production checking phase) and the headings (see our author guidelines for the acceptable top-level headings we use and to download Microsoft Word templates).
  7. Your manuscript will then be tagged and laid out to produce the PDF and XML versions. However, the text you have provided will be faithfully represented in the published article exactly as you have supplied it and your figures will not be edited in any way prior to publication.
  8. About three weeks after your paper has been formally accepted by our production staff, it will be published online. We will contact you one to two weeks in advance to confirm the publication date, embargo time and the URL at which your paper will be available. We also suggest at this stage, if you haven’t already done so, that you register an account on the PLoS ONE journal publication site. This is independent of the manuscript submission system and will allow you to annotate and comment on your paper when it is published. You can also then annotate, discuss and rate any of the other papers published in PLoS ONE (almost 6,000 in total).

If you have any questions about the production process at PLoS ONE or if you are concerned about correctly formatting your manuscript, figures, tables or LaTeX files, please consult our author guidelines in the first instance and if you still need advice, please contact our production staff at ONE_production [at] plos.org.

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