LaTeX submissions now accepted at PLoS ONE

Here’s some good news for all LaTeX devotees – PLoS ONE now welcomes these submissions.

Although LaTeX (a widely used, freely available, document preparation system) submissions have been possible for many PLoS titles for some time, PLoS ONE’s fast electronic workflow and high throughput of papers meant that we had to rigorously test how it would work on this journal before we could introduce it.

Now that we’ve finished piloting it with a few live examples with encouraging results, such as this paper on high resolution maps of science, we’re ready to roll it out for all our authors and we’re hoping that this new service will be well received by authors from the following ‘math heavy’ communities (among others):

  • Computational Biology
  • Physics
  • Chemistry
  • Mathematics
  • Engineering

Please read the full author guidelines for the preparation of LaTeX files for PLoS ONE and submit your paper today!

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Top picks in Infectious Diseases

Earlier this week we published an interview with Adam Ratner, PLoS ONE Section Editor responsible for Infectious Diseases. We also asked him to choose his top five papers from those he has edited and provide brief explanations about why he picked them. Here are his choices and reasons. We welcome more submissions from this community.

Surprisingly High Specificity of the PPD Skin Test for M.tuberculosis Infection from Recent Exposure in The Gambia. Hill PC, Brookes RH, Fox A, Jackson-Sillah D, Lugos MD, et al. This paper is a perfect example of the importance of open access to international health. Hill et al. studied a common tuberculosis test (the PPD skin test) on the ground in a high-prevalence area. These data are valuable for practitioners and researchers all over the world and can be most widely available through PLoS ONE.

RNA-Containing Cytoplasmic Inclusion Bodies in Ciliated Bronchial Epithelium Months to Years after Acute Kawasaki Disease. Rowley AH, Baker SC, Shulman ST, Garcia FL, Fox LM, et al. This manuscript uses analysis of samples from patients who died of Kawasaki Disease (KD) in order to explore the hypothesis that an unidentified RNA virus may be the inciting agent of this KD. The etiology of KD has been a topic of great controversy for decades, and this paper adds valuable data. KD occurs worldwide, and the wide dissemination of information gained from autopsy studies of KD fatalities is important.

Evolution of Streptococcus pneumoniae and Its Close Commensal Relatives. Kilian M, Poulsen K, Blomqvist T, Håvarstein LS, Bek-Thomsen M, et al. Streptococcus pneumoniae is a tremendously important cause of disease worldwide, accounting for approximately 1 million deaths in children under 5 annually. Kilian et al. performed a detailed evolutionary analysis of S. pneumoniae and closely related species, many of which are rarely pathogenic. This sets the stage for a more detailed understanding of S. pneumoniae pathogenesis and is important information for researchers all over the world.

Phase 1 Trial of Malaria Transmission Blocking Vaccine Candidates Pfs25 and Pvs25 Formulated with Montanide ISA 51.Wu Y, Ellis RD, Shaffer D, Fontes E, Malkin EM, et al. This is a Phase I trial of candidate malaria vaccines in which there was an unexpectedly high rate of adverse reactions to the adjuvant used. I chose this article because this is the kind of study that might have difficulty finding a "home" without a forum such as PLoS ONE. There is a tremendous amount to be learned from early stage trials, even those in which the intervention tested is a "failure," in this case as a result of reactogenicity. PLoS ONE publishes work such as this, allowing it to inform future studies.

Microbial Prevalence, Diversity and Abundance in Amniotic Fluid During Preterm Labor: A Molecular and Culture-Based Investigation. DiGiulio DB, Romero R, Amogan HP, Kusanovic JP, Bik EM, et al. Preterm birth is a major cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide and is often of unclear etiology. DiGiuio et al. took a broad, culture-independent approach to understanding the population of microorganisms in the amniotic fluid of women with and without preterm birth. Their findings reveal surprising microbial diversity in this site and are an important foundation for future work in this area.

To add your work to the quality articles already published in PLoS ONE, simply submit your manuscript to us today.

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Top picks in Evolutionary Biology

In partnership with the release of today's blog interview with Tom Tregenza, we're also pleased to highlight his top picks of articles in Evolutionary Biology (selected from those which he has overseen as the Academic Editor). He has provided some insight into why each one was of interest to him. We welcome more submissions from this community.

Attitudes Toward Consumption and Conservation of Tigers in China by Gratwicke B et al. This paper reports on a very straightforward, but thorough and well designed survey, which provides chilling data on just how vast the market for Tiger product in China is. It makes a very powerful case that allowing a lifting on the ban on the trafficking of tiger products would be a huge mistake.

Do Individual Females Differ Intrinsically in Their Propensity to Engage in Extra-Pair Copulations? by Forstmeier W. This paper addresses the woefully neglected question of whether certain female birds (in this example, Zebra Finches) are simply more willing to mate than other females. Studies of sexual selection have typically asked whether females have preferences for particular males, and sometimes ask whether females differ in their preferences for particular males. However, the much simpler question of whether some females are simply more ready to mate has rarely been examined.

A Preference for a Sexual Signal Keeps Females Safe by Kim TW et al. This is a nice piece of classic behavioural ecology. The question of why females choose to mate with certain males has many potential answers. Among the most straightforward potential explanations, but one that has received less attention than it probably should have, is that the signals that females find attractive actually provide females directly with a benefit. In this study, structures made by male fiddler crabs become more attractive to females when there is more perceived risk from predators, indicating that the structures provide females with shelter from predators.

Swordtail Fry Attend to Chemical and Visual Cues in Detecting Predators and Conspecifics by Coleman SW and Rosenthal GG. This is a well designed study that examines the possibility that young fish can use both chemical and visual cues to detect predators and conspecfics. The work shows that baby swordtails use both chemical and visual sources of information, and that together they have a larger effect than if one of the two is presented on its own. This suggests that baby fish may on the one hand have the capacity to use multiple cues, and on the other hand may actually need both types of cue to respond maximally, with implications for understanding effects of disturbance on their environment.

Phylogeny of Diving Beetles Reveals a Coevolutionary Arms Race between the Sexes by Bergsten J and Miller KB. I love this paper because it describes what at first glance seems a potentially rather dull subject – a phylogeny of diving beetles. However, as it turns out males and females of these beetles are involved in an ongoing arms-race in which males have evolved suction cups on their feet for gripping females and females in turn have evolved patterns of pits and furrows that prevent these suckers from allowing males to grab hold of females. Where males have big suctions cups, females have concomitantly larger patterns of depressions, and a closely related pair of species from Japan suggest that this battle of the sexes may have driven speciation in the group.

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New Section Editor Interview – Bernhard Baune

Bernhard Baune is the Section Editor in charge of Neuroscience and Psychiatry (one of our largest fields, with 650 papers listed in this category at the present time) at PLoS ONE. His personal fields of specialization are Psychiatric Neuroscience, Biological Psychiatry and Epidemiology in Psychiatry. When he’s not busy working on papers for PLoS ONE, he has a full time position as the Professor of Psychiatry and Psychiatric Neuroscience at James Cook University, Australia.

PB: Bernhard, please tell me a bit more about your background

BB: My clinical background is in psychiatry, and my research background is mainly in the neuroscience and epidemiology of psychiatric disorders. Our research approach is broad and involves basic science such as animal models and clinical application such as pharmacogenetics. We currently focus on mood disorders and have a special interest in cognitive functioning and performance in mood disorders. Here at James Cook University, we have a mood disorders research program and specifically look at applied Neuroscience methods which have a translational approach to clinical applications.

PB: And how large is your research group

BB: At the moment we have 8 people working in the group. We are currently extending into the area of neuroprotection in neuropsychiatric illnesses and specifically we are exploring a protein with the potential of neuroprotection.

PB: You have recently been handling the editorial oversight of a Collection of papers for our forthcoming ‘Stress and Depression’ Collection (scheduled to publish in January 2009). Can you tell me a bit about your work on that Collection?

BB: The Collection is a highly relevant topic, for a number of reasons. On the one hand it reflects the research traditions in that area, but on the other hand it reflects the need for research on depression to look at gene/environmental interactions. Therefore I found it very interesting from the beginning and was happy to become involved as the Academic Editor for it. A number of very interesting papers were submitted, really reflecting different areas of relevance to the field – from animal through to clinical research.

PB: And what was the quality of those papers like?

BB: I would say they were all ‘high’ to ‘top’ quality papers and if I compare those papers to papers from other journals for which I review, then I would say they are of the same quality as top journals. The only difference I might observe is that some of the papers were more specific in their topics as opposed to be being ‘broad’ in their approach, which is often the criteria of more traditional journals which may seek broader papers to attract a wider readership. Papers in my field sometimes deal with very specific and detailed mechanisms for example, so I think that while they may have a tendency to be more specific and detailed, the good thing is that the journal gives the authors the opportunity to publish that type of work.

PB: And would you say that this is a general feature of PLoS ONE papers – that authors have the freedom to be more detailed in their submissions and don’t feel that they need to write articles just to satisfy a broad readership?

BB: Yes, that is my impression. I wouldn’t say that is the main characteristic of PLoS ONE papers but certainly a proportion of papers submitted do have that profile. I think that’s very good, because its really about the detailed science of the paper rather than the ‘message’.

PB: I think that’s really one of the main advantages of PLoS ONE. Because we do not sell our content, we don’t have to publish only the most ‘impactful’ or ‘interesting’ articles (which might improve our ‘salability’). Therefore, authors are able to write their article according to the needs of their science – and this is very liberating for many of them.

PB: And how do you work, in your role as Section Editor?

BB: As a Section Editor I receive all papers submitted in my area of neuroscience and psychiatry. I look at the paper, and read it to evaluate the exact topic before assigning it to the Academic Editor whom I feel is best qualified to handle that particular paper. Then the papers are sent our for peer review, and from my point of view the peer review process is identical to that of other journals – at least 2 external peer reviewers are asked for their expert opinion; those comments are sent back to the authors; and they are required to reply appropriately to improve their manuscript before a final decision is made by the Academic Editor. This process is fairly quick, by which I mean our turnaround time is fast.

PB: I agree about the speed. For example, we are online only and so are able to publish final articles on a daily schedule. As a result, our current performance from final acceptance to online publication is just 26 days on average which I believe is significantly faster than the majority of journals, which typically still adhere to an ‘issue based’ publication schedule.

PB: How much time would you say you spend on PLoS ONE

BB: I work on it on a daily basis, as I need to keep track of newly submitted papers in my section. I spend maybe an hour a day on the journal.

PB: And what is the most important thing that scientists should understand about PLoS ONE. Is it simply the fact we are Open Access? Or are there more interesting things that people should know about?

BB: The most important thing to know is that the selection criteria is dependant on the quality and methodology of the research, rather than interest level. That is important because there is a lot of good research out there which deserves publication. Secondly, the broadness of the topics, both within a section but also overall, is very important. This means that the diverse research conducted at various labs around the world has the opportunity to be published. And finally, the speed of publication is also very important, although other journals can also be fast so I would place this third.

PB: And what about Open Access in general? What is your opinion of this publication method?

BB: Open Access is very good because people who do not engage with research on a day to day basis, or only on a more occasional basis, have easy access to the literature.

PB: That’s a very good point, I think. Is there anything else you would like to add to this interview?

BB: Well, PLoS ONE is a great idea with great potential. I would also like to say that the PLoS ONE team is really fantastic – speedy responses; good high quality feedback; very efficient; very knowledgeable. I really appreciate that communication with the team.

PB: That’s a very nice note to end on Bernhard, and I am sure the PLoS ONE team will be very pleased to hear those comments. Thank you very much.

If you would like to experience PLoS ONE for yourself, the Open Access, the speed and the personable service, submit your work to us today.


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Interview with a Chinese author

Since launch, PLoS ONE has published the work of over 23,000 authors worldwide, including many from China.

As part of our campaign to highlight publications which have received good article level metrics (such as citations as counted by Google Scholar), I asked a corresponding Chinese author, Tian Kegong, Director of the Veterinary Diagnosis Lab, China Animal Disease Control Center Beijing, PR of China, about his experiences of publishing the paper “Emergence of Fatal PRRSV Variants: Unparalleled Outbreaks of Atypical PRRS in China and Molecular Dissection of the Unique Hallmark” by Tiang et al, with us.

Q. Why did your team choose PLoS ONE to publish this work?

A. PLoS Journals have a good reputation in the field of science – we were glad that our paper could be published in PLoS ONE. In addition, Open Access makes our study, which is vitally crucial for other governments and scientists to defend against the epidemic of PRRS in China, available to everyone, anywhere. The online commenting tool that can be used after publication provides a platform to exchange ideas – this is crucial for us and offered the opportunity to facilitate cooperation between other scientists and my team in the field of PRRSV.

Q. Could you comment on the topic of this paper and why you think it was well received?

A. I think the article was appreciated because it covered a reasonable amount of important scientific ground. 1. The pathogenesis of so-called "high fever " disease, which spread to more than 10 provinces and affected over 2,000,000 pigs with about 400,000 fatal cases, was first determined and reported in the form of academic publication. This study helped other scientists in the field to become oriented to the current research direction. 2. This paper also brought forward the concept of highly pathogenic PRRSV (HP-PRRSV) for the first time. Based on the systematical study including the clinical feature, histopathology, molecular epidemiology and molecular virology, some special features were found that were quite different from the typical PRRSV isolates, such as high fever, high mortality and two distinct deletions in the non-structural protein 2 (NSP2). 3. The JXA1 PRRSV strain, mentioned in this paper, was the seed virus developed for a inactivated vaccine that was the key role to control the epidemic of HP-PRRSV in the past year, and a attenuated vaccine that had passed the evaluation of National Animal clinical trial. The inactivated vaccine had received a temporary certificate of veterinary drugs. 4. We had successfully developed two HP-PRRSV vaccine including the inactivated vaccine and attenuated vaccine, which played an important role in the controlling the disease over the past year. Meanwhile, the RT-PCR and Real-Time fluorescent PCR detection methods had also been established to monitor epidemiology of HP-PRRSV from 2006 to 2008, and the characteristics of HP-PRRSV virulence and entire genome sequence data were got and analyzed through newly isolated virus in the interim.

Q. What are you working on now?

A. At present, we are focusing on the virulence determinants and genetic evolution of HP-PRRSV. a) The entire genomes sequence data were compared and analyzed between the JXA1 strain , its cell-induced virus, newly isolated virus of HP-PRRSV, and other typical isolates; b) The HP-PRRSV infectious clone are being established to explore the pathogenic mechanism through Reverse Genetics.

Q. What was your experience of publishing with us like, and would you do it again?

A. I was really impressed by the experience of the rigorous editorial process and constructive comments, supplied by good editors and good reviewers. These undoubtedly improved our manuscript. The quick service ensured that the research was published in good time. Thus, we’d like to do it again. We are willing to contribute our latest work to your journal. We hope to establish a good long-term cooperative relationship in the future, and show our best work in PLoS ONE.

We are happy to publish work from China and invite you to submit your research wherever you live.

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New Academic Editor Interview – Niyaz Ahmed

At the end of October 2008, Niyaz Ahmed (PLoS ONE Section Editor for Microbiology and Genomics) passed the milestone of 50 papers handled for PLoS ONE and by the time I caught up with him to congratulate him, he had reached almost 60. Given this great achievement, I thought it would be a perfect excuse to interview him for our ongoing series of ‘Discussions with PLOS ONE Editors”.

Niyaz is a group leader, in charge of a team of 10, at the “Centre for DNA Fingerprinting and Diagnostics” in Hyderabad, India. His lab is interested in the molecular basis of the acquisition and adaptation of chronic pathogens to their host niches, and the outcome of that adaptation in the long run. He kindly took time out of his schedule to speak to me at 11.30 in the evening (just 9 am in San Francisco, with a 13 ½ hour time difference) – this was a time when he would normally be working on PLoS ONE submissions!

PB: Niyaz – tell me what it is like to do research in India?

NA: Being based in India is a huge advantage for my work. India is unfortunately a hot spot for infections such as TB and enteric diseases where my main interests lie. In addition, there is a great deal of cultural and genetic diversity here that broadly influences the acquisition, maintenance and eradication of the diseases. . Therefore, my location is important from a host point of view as well as from a pathogen’s point of view. In addition, in the post genomic era there is a great deal of resources and collaborative interests percolating through to India. My group extensively collaborates with laboratories in Europe and elsewhere and we have a long term collaborative program running at the University of Sassari, Italy.

PB: What do you feel makes PLoS ONE relevant to scientists?

NA: I have spoken to many of the young leaders in science, and most of them think that PLoS ONE is making new headway in science communication, and that its’ most important function is to provide an inclusive forum (by which I mean one can publish topics between the disciplines and across the disciplines). This is the main thing that makes PLoS ONE so distinct. I would also highlight the tools that it provides for rating, evaluation, and post publication commenting, as well as the journal clubs. It is a very open, very inclusive, and yet very smart independent system of publishing – that is what attracts the attention of the new generation. Also some people are very interested in the swift speed at which papers are published. So I think the inclusive scope, the speed and being a platform for discussion are three of the most important things in my opinion.

PB: And tell me about your blog that you write – BLoG ONE

NA: I felt that I would like to air my own ideas about the papers that I am accepting and that I should somehow put what I feel about each particular paper on the web. And that is how I started the blog – as a way to highlight the best of those papers that I have been accepting. This was my way to advocate for PLoS ONE, and each post clearly links back to PLoS ONE. But I don’t just highlight papers that I handle, I also highlight many of the other PLoS ONE papers that are published every week. Although the sole intention of the blog is to advocate for PLoS ONE, I do feel that it highlights the contemporary approach to the OA debate that PLoS ONE represents.

PB: Well, we thank you for doing this – your blog is a very nice example of how to re-promote Open Access content. And what is your opinion on our acceptance criteria?

NA: As a journal we are promoting article level evaluation in the light of new generation, post publication metrics (cites, trackbacks, blog posts, media coverage, ratings, social bookmarking and journal clubs). Impact Factor only matters for the journal level evaluation of the literature. Here, we are inclusive in the sense that if the research is sound, it has adhered to the community standards, and it has been performed with a rigorous methodology then it should be accepted in the literature. So long as the research qualifies to be included in the literature, then we are not worried about its impact because its impact will be determined by the readers and the community. In this way, it is our part to let the content go before the readers and the community and only then to sit and analyze the trends.

PB: How many hours a week would you say you devote to PLoS ONE?

NA: Mostly in the evenings, after I come back from the lab I will be working on my editorial assignments. I typically spend 2 hours a day on my tasks as Section Editor and then for manuscripts that I am personally reviewing, I may work on them for more than a week before being able to submit a review. My institute gives me the freedom to make myself available for this work. They consider my time spent on editorial activities to be part of professional activity, and that is very supportive of them.

PB: What would you say is the ‘best’ paper you have handled and why?

NA: Well, all the articles that I accept are carefully considered after a rigorous peer review. The most noteworthy, however, is the case of a set of two related manuscripts on the topic of coral reef conservation (by Dinsdale and colleagues and Sala and colleagues) that I edited in February this year. My impression is that these papers would have been otherwise published in any of the frontline science journals if they were not fielded in PLoS ONE. Both the articles were based on the Scripps Institute expedition findings and were enthusiastically received by the international media. A commentary on these articles was simultaneously published in PLoS Biology and the articles were evaluated in Faculty of 1000. I have separately indicated why I have recommended publication of these articles and why I liked to handle these articles.

PB: And finally, what would you say is the thing about Open Access that most excites you?

NA: Developing countries are in great need of Open Access. The fruits of the scientific and technological revolution are not reaching them because they have to pay to receive the content. In an Indian case scenario, while the library budgets are dwindling, internet access has become affordable for masses, thanks to our technology driven economy. And that is where OA comes to enhance research productivity as well as the pace of discovery. Finally, I will say, that knowledge should not be kept bound. Knowledge is created to be open. It’s a free world!

PB: That is a great note to end on. Thank you for your time Niyaz, and congratulations again on handling so many papers for PLoS ONE.

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Academic Editor Interview – Ivan Baxter

To kick off our series of interviews with PLoS ONE Editiorial Board Members, I started with a phone call to one of our longer standing Academic Editors – Ivan Baxter, who is currently the Section Editor covering Plant Biology. Ivan is a Senior Research Associate at the Bindley Bioscience Center at Purdue University.

PB. I’d like to start with a bit more detail on your scientific background.

IB. I am a computationally oriented plant biologist and I am interested in how plants interact with their environment to regulate the mineral content of their tissues. I’ve been doing plant biology for 8 years now; looking at mineral nutrition for the last four, and before that I was working on ion transporters. Before getting into plants, I worked on RNA biochemistry. I am currently the Plant Biology Section Editor for PLoS ONE in addition to being an Academic Editor and I have been on the PLoS One Editorial Board since the summer of 2006.

PB. What was it that attracted you to PLoS ONE in the first place?

IB. I liked the fact that we don’t worry about trying to define what is significant – that attracted me right from the start as I’ve always felt that was extremely arbitrary. I’ve always been excited about the whole idea of Open Access, and another strong feature that attracted me to PLoS ONE was the fact that you can make the paper as long as you wanted as long as it is good and cohesive.

PB. How does the peer-review process on PLoS ONE work?

IB. Since joining the Board, I have also acted as a reviewer for three of the top plant journals, and the review process is similar at all of those journals. A paper is submitted to PLoS ONE and the PLoS Editorial team review it for formatting and quality control issues. Then they work to find an Academic Editor, frequently, this involves a section editor like myself. As a working plant biologist, I am able to identify which of the 15+ (and growing) plant researchers on the editorial board is the best match for the paper. Our plant biology editors span a wide variety of disciplines within plant biology and are located on five continents. Once a board member agrees to review a paper they also accept responsibility for ensuring the quality of the manuscript if it is going to be published in PLoS ONE.

PB. What is the standard of peer-review on PLoS ONE?

IB. The standards that we apply to papers are the same as I apply as a reviewer at other plant journals, with one major exception. We look for papers that present primary research that has been conducted to a high technical standard where the conclusions are supported by the experiments. We also, of course, insist that the experiments are conducted in an ethical manner, that the underlying data has been deposited in the appropriate repository, and that the writing is intelligible. What we don't do is apply an arbitrary significance standard (i.e. this paper is in the top 27.465% of those in its field), which is a highly subjective judgment. As a result of our strict standards, most papers are either rejected or returned to the authors for revisions. Some of the revisions end up as de facto rejections if the authors are not able to correct the identified deficiencies. However, a majority will be published after the authors address the reviewers’ comments and concerns. Like the review process at other journals, the review process at PLoS ONE improves the quality of the papers that we publish, however since we will publish any paper that meets our standards, authors know they won't have to go through multiple rounds of reformatting and revision to resubmit to multiple journals.

PB How quickly does this process move?

IB. Regarding the speed of our processes, I think we are as good as any journal I know of, if not better and that overall it moves faster than anywhere else. I think we have established a different process and that it is good and rigorous.

PB. What’s the general quality of submissions like?

IB. I also think that in general we are getting very good quality submissions. Obviously there is a range, but I have handled several papers which I feel could have been published in the top journals in my field and for whatever reason were not.

PB. Why do you think so many scientists submit to PLoS ONE?

IB. I feel that these papers come to PLoS ONE because of the speed, but also the fact that if an author is confident that their science is good then they should feel that there is no reason why their paper would not be published in PLoS ONE. That is very reassuring because at most other journals you go to, you can persuade the reviewers to agree that the paper is correct and still even after making all their corrections they may come back to you and say that is it “not quite right for our journal”. We are never going to say that, so if you go to PLoS ONE and you are confident that your science is good then you can be confident that you will be published. You may be wrong, of course, and you will find that out through our review process, however the knowledge that you’re not going to have to reformat, resubmit to multiple journals is very attractive to people.

If you think that you have the skills and expertise to join the Editorial Board of PLoS ONE, please let me know ( If you want to experience this process for yourself, please send us your work.

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Interview with a PLoS ONE author

We've been looking at PLoS ONE articles that have a good combination of important article level metrics (usage data: page views; citations, media coverage, comments and ratings etc). One such article is On the origin and Functional Architecture of the Cortex which was also featured in a journal club discussion at The Sydney University Visual Physiology Group.

I asked the Author of this article, Dario Ringach of the University of California Los Angeles, why he chose PLoS ONE to publish his work and what his experience was like. This is what he said:

Q. Why did you choose PLoS ONE?

A. It allowed a venue to publish a controversial theory about the origins of the functional architecture of the cortex. PLoS would make these ideas widely accessible and also provided a forum for discussion which, in my mind, was very useful to get constructive criticism to guide the further development of the theory.

Q. Why do you think this paper attracted interest and what are you investigating now?

A. The paper has likely attracted some attention because some predictions of the theory have now been verified (a) the dependence of orientation bandwidth with the location of neuron within the orientation map, (b) the clustering of on/off afferents in layer 4, and (c) a direct relationship between the clusters of on/off afferents and the preferred orientation of cells at that site. Our theoretical work has concentrated on expanding and working on this model to come up with new predictions and tests that could be experimentally tested with available techniques.

Q. What was your experience of publishing with us like?

A. It was a piece of cake… rapid turn around, almost no mistakes in typesetting (despite the heavy math). I will likely do it again!

If this experience sounds good to you and you’ve not tried PLoS ONE yet or you’ve only published with us once or twice, we would welcome your work.

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An interview with one of PLoS ONE’s most frequently published authors.

Jeremy Farrar, from the Centre for Tropical Medicine, Oxford University, Oxford, U.K. and the Hospital for Tropical Diseases, Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam has published seven articles with PLoS ONE which makes him one of our most frequently published authors.

I caught up with him via email as he sped around the world to ask him why he published with us, what his experience was like and whether he would do it again. Here’s what he said:

“We have chosen to publish a number of manuscripts in PLoS ONE for a variety of reasons. We are committed to the concept of truly open access journals, open from day one following publication and available to everyone anywhere. The follow on comments on the publications from readers is a superb feature and has already facilitated a series of discussions which never happen with the traditional publication system.

We have found the reviewers to be very tough, tougher than many of the reviewers from more established journals. The reviewers on papers reporting randomized controlled trials have been particularly tough and their reviews have undoubtedly improved the manuscripts.

The journal provides an important niche for a range of publications, ensures the research is available to as wide an audience as possible, encourages participation from readers after publication and in my experience the standard of review has been very high with particularly robust statistical review and a standard format for reporting which allows easier comparisons between trials.

Open access is crucial and whatever the complexities of the business model for the PLoS journals I hope the idea survives and builds on its initial success. In my area of work in international health true open access at the time of publication is a vitally important concept, crucial to the building of science and encouragement of research globally and one which we will support fully by continuing to sending our work for consideration for publication.”

If you have not published with PLoS ONE before or if you have published just once or twice, we would encourage you to follow Jeremy’s lead in facilitating the open publication of research by sending your work to us.

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At PLoS ONE we’re batty about Bats

Every month, PLoS ONE focuses on a particular topic where we publish a significant volume of work. This month we are focusing on Bat research which broadly falls into 2 categories, Physiology/Behaviour and Disease/Epidemiology – we have analyzed our top papers in the field in terms of viewing patterns, citations and media/blog coverage.

From this analysis, the paper entitled Marburg Virus Infection Detected in a Common African Bat by Towner et al, was the most viewed of this group (Source: Google Analytics) and the most cited by other scientists (Source: Google Scholar). It also received nice blog coverage, for example, this post by Tara C. Smith in the blog Aetiology

From the same analysis, the paper entitled Accelerated FoxP2 Evolution in Echolocating Bats by Li et al, had our second highest number of unique page views of all Bat papers and also received a good deal of coverage in the blog community:


As the Managing Editor of PLoS ONE, I am always interested to know what motivates our authors to publish with us and find out more about their research. A good way to do this is to interview the authors of these high profile papers, and so we asked Stephen J. Rossiter, from the University of London (the corresponding author of this paper) why he and his team chose PLoS ONE to publish this work. He said:

“We were attracted to PLoS ONE for its quick publishing, open source ethos and the lack of limit on the manuscript length. We are pleased that in spite of being published only last year, our paper has already been cited three times”.

We are also always interested in learning about the publication process that our authors experienced and whether they would do it again. In this case, the reply was:

“When we first submitted our paper to PLoS ONE, we were slightly concerned that its content might not be reviewed beyond an appraisal of its methodological competency. Not a bit of it – the paper received two very thorough and constructive reviews by leaders in the field, which were as rigorous as any that we have seen from top-ranking journals”.

Finally, we sought the author’s perspective on why they think that a paper is so highly read; the impact it made on the field at the time and how the field and their role in it has moved on since publication:

“The story of FoxP2 exemplifies how genes of medical significance can help shed light on evolutionary processes, and vice versa. Variation in FoxP2 is linked to speech coordination defects in humans, but seems to correlate with the origin of echolocation in bats. These results then led us to discover that the cochlea gene Prestin, which underpins high frequency hearing in mammals and is linked to human deafness, has undergone convergence in lineages of echolocating bats”.

Overall, we clearly delivered an excellent publishing experience for these authors, and we are certainly pleased that their work is receiving so much positive attention in the community.

Naturally, I wanted our Bat focus to either coincide with the release of the latest Batman movie or with Halloween, but like a small mammal flapping just out of reach, both dates eluded us. We hope that this won’t put you off from sending your work to us and receiving a similarly satisfying publication experience.

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