Most Common PLOS ONE Questions (FAQ)

This FAQ addresses some of the most common problems or questions that our users have. In addition, we have an important Checklist which you should consult while using our online submission system.

Please be aware of our basic Editorial Criteria and examine our Editorial Policies page for information about the general policies that apply to any PLoS Submission. Before submitting, you should study our Guidelines for Authors as well as our Guidelines for Figure and Table Preparation.

We also have a series of short Video Tutorials that tackle various common problems encountered when using our peer review software (note: there are 2 pages of these Video Shorts).

 

Authors

Peer Reviewers and Academic Editors

Initial Submission

Why doesn’t my manuscript have a number?
Answer:  All manuscripts must pass a technical check and then a brief review by in-house editors before they receive a manuscript number. Once this process is complete, and an Academic Editor is assigned to the submission, your manuscript will be assigned a manuscript number and you will be notified by email.


While trying to submit a manuscript I receive an error message that says “Required author data is missing” before I am able to build my PDF. How can I fix this?
Answer:  This error message refers to the start of your online submission, when you entered your co-author information. To go back to this section please click on the “Add/Edit/Remove Authors” box on the left-hand side of your screen in the “Edit Submission” page. Missing author data will be marked by an asterisk (*). Remember to check the Department and the Country as these are common fields that are left incomplete. See the PLoS ONE Video Short on how to attend to the author data missing error.

While completing the online submission process, my manuscript suddenly disappeared from my account. What happened?
Answer:  Our journal management system, Editorial Manager, automatically saves the information you enter when you are making your submission. However, if you enter someone other than yourself as the corresponding author, then the system will automatically move your submission into their account. This helps to prevent the confusion of having multiple authors editing a submission at once. Please note that the corresponding author for the online submission process can be different from the corresponding author of your published manuscript. If your manuscript is accepted, our Production Team will pull the corresponding author information directly from the title page of your article file.

I am trying to change my coauthor into our corresponding author. How do I do this?
Answer: Watch this PLoS ONE Video Short to learn how to select a coauthor to be a corresponding author on your manuscript.

My user name and password is not working on the new Editorial Manager (EM) website. What should I do?
Answer:  If you have had a previous interaction with a PLoS journal then you actually have an account in our Editorial Manager system, and you should simply follow the “Send Username/Password” link in order to receive your temporary password. If you have never submitted to a PLoS Journal before, then you will need to set up a new account (by clicking “Register Now”).

When I log onto Editorial Manager, I cannot see the manuscripts that I expected to see. What happened?
Answer:  Some people have duplicate accounts on our system (corresponding to different email addresses) and so you may be logging into the ‘wrong’ duplicate. Try generating a temporary password using the answer above, with one of your other email addresses. Otherwise, email us at plosone@plos.org and we will search for your duplicate accounts.

I am an author trying to submit a manuscript.  When I upload Microsoft Word files and view the “Artwork Quality Results,” the manuscript fails . What do I do? Answer: This is an occasional error that some people receive. We are working to fix it, but in the meantime it is OK to go ahead and approve your manuscript by clicking  “approve submission.”

Why can I not find the supporting information files that I uploaded?
Answer: Supporting information files are intentionally not included a part of the final merged manuscript PDF file.    However, there will be blue hyperlinks at the top of the blank pages near the end of the merged manuscript PDF file which allows reviewers and Academic Editors to view all of the supporting information.

How do I add classifications to my manuscript?
Answer: Watch our video tutorial on adding classifications to your manuscript. We’ll walk you through the process.

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Revised Submission

How do I submit my revised manuscript?
Answer: This video will walk you through the process.

I am an author working on a revised version of my manuscript, but need more time to complete my revisions. How can I request an extension on my deadline?
Answer: Our revision deadlines are merely meant to establish an estimated time frame for when we might expect authors to resubmit their manuscripts. If you miss the deadline by a few weeks this is not a problem, and you do not need to request an extension. If you expect your delay to be more than 2 months past the deadline, then please email us and we will reset the date.

I am submitting a revised version of my manuscript. What new files do I need to include?
Answer: When submitting your revision, you will need to include the following new files:

  1. Response to Reviewers (this can NOT take the form of a revised cover letter, as the reviewers cannot view this type of file). Please explicitly deal with all the points that were called out as important in the original decision letter and upload your response to reviewers as a supplementary file labeled “Response to Reviewers.”
  2. A ‘clean’ copy of your revised manuscript
  3. A revised manuscript with tracked changes From the “Attach Files” section of your online submission you will also be able to replace any other files that have been updated in the revision before building and approving your PDF.
  4. Please indicate in your cover letter which files have been updated in this way.

I am an author and I can only see one of the reviewers’ comments in my decision letter. How do I access attached comments?
Answer:  The reviewer may have uploaded their comments as an attachment. To successfully access the reviewer’s attachment, please login to our system and select the action link to “View Attachments.”  Occasionally, there is a bug in our system, which means that authors will not have this action link.  If this seems to be the case, please contact the editorial office at plosone@plos.org at your earliest convenience.

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Figures

Whenever I try to upload my figure to your website, I keep getting an error message stating that the connection was reset.  How can I upload my figure and submit my manuscript?
Answer: Your figure is probably too big.  PLoS ONE’s submission system requires figure files to be smaller than 10 MB or 10,000 KB.  If your figure or table is larger than 10MB, please use LZW compression as outlined in our author guidelines at the URLhttp://www.plosone.org/static/figureGuidelines.action.

Why is my figure quality poor?
There could be a few possibilities for this:

  • The quality of your figures will only be as good as the lowest-resolution element placed in them.  So, if you created a 72 ppi line graph and placed it in a 300 ppi TIFF, it will look blurred, jagged, or pixilated.
  • When viewing your merged PDF file, the resolution of your figure may look lower than it actually is as it will have been downsized to reduce the size of the PDF. However, there is a blue hyperlink located at the top of the page that contains the figure that enables you to download the corresponding high-resolution version of the image.
  • If the resolutions of the figures in your merged PDF are sufficient for peer review then please continue with the rest of the submission process as you will be able to address this concern during the production process before publication.

For more help, please follow our directions provided in our figure guidelines at the URLhttp://www.plosone.org/static/figureGuidelines.action#preparation.

How do I check my image quality upon submission of my manuscript?
Answer: This link will take you to a short video where we will walk you through the steps to check your image quality.

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Post-Publication

My article published on your site, but it isnt in PubMed Central yet. Answer: Although we strive to get articles into PMC as fast as possible, it can sometimes (due to circumstances beyond our control) take as long as two weeks before a published article will appear on PubMed Central.

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General Issues

If our paper has been published elsewhere, can we still publish it with PLoS ONE?
Answer: Unfortunately, one of PLoS ONE’s acceptance criteria is that the “results reported have not been published elsewhere.”  Thus, we cannot consider your paper if it has already been published in another journal.  However, we do allow you to post your paper on web sites or in pre-print servers prior to submission to PLoS ONE (provided this location is not considered to be a formal peer reviewed journal).PLoS ONE’s acceptance criteria can be found at the URLhttp://www.plosone.org/static/guidelines.action#criteria and our policy on pre-print servers can be found at: http://www.plosone.org/static/policies.action#embargo.

I would like to re-use/incorporate some of my published work in something else, can I? Answer: Because we are an Open Access journal, you have the right, after a paper has been successfully published, to use it in any way you like so long as you use the appropriate citation to the original work. You do not need to request our permission for any kind of re-use.

What kind of reference styling should I use? Answer: Please download and use the EndNote output style (EndNote 8 andabove orEndNote 4-7) or the BibTeX style file .   For more detailed instructions, please visit our reference guidelines at the URLhttp://www.plosone.org/static/guidelines.action#preparation.

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Reviewing a manuscript

I would like to apply to become a reviewer for PLoS ONE. What is your procedure?
Answer: At this time, we do not have a formal database of reviewers that we use, and so there is no application process. If you are interested in reviewing papers for our journal, please sign up for an account in our system at (http://www.editorialmanager.com/pone/), and be sure to keep your profile current with the most appropriate classifications and personal keywords. Please use the most detailed classifications possible (the lowest order when you click the + signs to expand research areas). This way, when our editors search the database for reviewers in particular subject areas, your name can be found by these terms.

You may also want to look through our list of Academic Editors (http://www.plosone.org/static/edboard.action) to identify the ones who are in your field of research, and send them a brief summary of your expertise as well as your availability as a reviewer.

I am a reviewer. Stop sending me reminder emails! I submitted my review days ago.
Answer: You probably saved a partially complete review. To finish submitting your review, please do as follows:

  1. Log into your reviewer account athttp://www.editorialmanager.com/pone.
  2. Click on the “Pending Assignments” link on your home page. This will take you to a new screen.
  3. Hover over the “Action Links” item on the left-hand side of the screen and select “Submit Recommendation” from the pop-up menu.
  4. This will take you to the screen containing your comments. Please check your comments to ensure they are correct, and then click on the “Proceed” button at the bottom right-hand corner.
  5. Next, you will arrive at another new screen. Click on the “Submit Review to Journal Office” button to complete submission.

This video will show you how to submit your review in Editorial Manager.

How navigate the action links in Editorial Manager.

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Academic Editor Tutorials

How to add subject classifications to your profile in Editorial Manager (and why this is important to do).

How to open a discussion with another academic editor in Editorial Manager.

How to accept or decline an invitation to act as an academic editor on a manuscript and navigate action links.

How to invite a reviewer to a manuscript.

How to find a reviewer based on personal classifications in Editorial Manager.

Can’t find a reviewer in Editorial Manger?Here’s how to register and select a new reviewer to a manuscript.

How to invite a reviewer to a revised manuscript.

How to change reviewer deadlines and the number of required reviewers on a manuscript.

How to submit your decision on a manuscript in Editorial Manager.

Going on vacation? Here’s how to set your unavailability dated in Editorial Manager.

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Please check back frequently as questions may be updated or revised at any time.