Image: New Ways Merka

Image: New Ways Merka

You can find some information below about the kind of papers that PLoS Medicine publishes, why you should publish in PLoS Medicine, some tips on using our submission system and the translations, videos and summaries that appear alongside your paper.

If you want to submit a paper to the journal, the first thing you need to do is send us a presubmission inquiry consisting of a cover letter, an abstract and up to ten key references.

Download our tips for streamlining submission (relevant for authors of presubmission inquiries, full submissions and revised manuscripts):  Author Tips PDF

If you have any questions please contact us through, or phone  +44 (0)1223 442814 (UK office) or +1 415 624 1234 (San Francisco office).

Why publish in PLoS Medicine?

Read the ten compelling reasons why you should submit your manuscript to PLoS Medicine ahead of another top-tier journal, the most compelling of all being that we are are open access journal and so anything we publish has the widest possible dissemination: free for anyone to read, download, distribute and re-use. It is also possible for anyone to comment and rate PLoS Medicine articles after publication through the interactive tools that encourage community discussion and assessment.

What types of manuscripts does PLoS Medicine publish?

The April 2009 Editorial laid out the scope PLoS Medicine : we want to “reinforce the important place in health research of work that encompasses the social, environmental, and political determinants of health, as well as the biological.” PLoS Medicine takes an evidence-based approach and prioritzes papers on the conditions and risk factors that cause the greatest losses to healthy life years worldwide. Watch this video with the Chief Editor about the strong ethical and moral argument for making these papers freely available for anyone to read, download distribute and re-use  – one of the compelling reasons for publishing in PLoS Medicine.

As well as publishing Research Articles, we also publish ten Magazine articles every month. The Magazine section includes twelve different types of paper, all of which have a specific brief, from Essays to Policy Forums to Guidelines and Guidance papers, which provide advice on conducting and reporting medical research. See the journal site for the full list of the article types we publish together with some examples.

What about the impact factor?

There are several ways of measuring a journal’s impact, including the influence it has on health policy, how widely read its papers are, and how frequently the papers are cited by other researchers. For the full list of PLoS impact factors see this blog and for wider discussion of impact see the June 2006 Editorial.

Image: Valarie Apperson

Image: Valarie Apperson

How do I submit my paper to PLoS Medicine?

As outlined in our Author Guidelines, PLoS Medicine encourages the submission of manuscripts that represent a significant advance in medical science or practice and that can demonstrate: originality; interest and importance to researchers and practitioners both inside and outside of the field; rigorous methodology; and adherence to the highest ethical standards.

We ask that authors send us a presubmission inquiry, consisting of an abstract and a cover letter with ten key references from the paper, before they send the full manuscript. This will allow one of the PLoS Medicine Editors to get back to you within a couple of working days about the suitability of your manuscript for the journal.

What if I can’t afford the publication fee?

As explained in the PLoS FAQs, we cover the cost of producing peer-reviewed, edited and formatted articles in our open access journals through publication fees which vary from journal to journal. These only apply to Research Articles that are accepted for publication. We have a number of institutional members whose authors qualify for a discount to the publication charge – the idea is not that the “author pays” for publication but that the cost of publishing is considered part of the cost of research.

The publication fees for the PLoS journals are outlined here. If an author is unable to meet this fee we have an unconditional waiver system in place. You’ll be asked to either nominate an amount that you can pay, or indicate why you are unable to pay the fee at all. This information is not available to reviewers or editors and does not affect the peer-review process or the decision to publish an article or not.

Tips for streamlining submission

If you are encouraged to submit a full manuscript,  please remember to read carefully through the checklist for submitting your manuscript for the first time to make sure that your manuscript can be assessed by the editorial team as quickly as possible.

Alongside your published paper in PLoS Medicine:

- Editors’ Summaries: Each Research Article we publish is accompanied by an Editors’ Summary written by a freelance science writer. The Editors’ Summary fits with one of the core principles of PLoS to engage the interest and imagination of the public in science and medicine. Authors get the chance to see the Editors’ Summary with the proofs of their accepted article. See this  example of an Editors’ Summary.

- Translations: As we made clear in an Editorial on language and medicine, publishing under an open access license means that there are no barriers to the translation of our papers into other languages. PLoS Medicine hopes to reach researchers, health care professionals, educators, and the general public for whom English is not a first language. We encourage authors to provide translations of their abstract or full text of their articles, which we publish in the supporting information section of their paper providing that the translation is provided shortly after the formal acceptance of the article. See this example of a paper translated into Chinese, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, Japanese and French.

- SciVee Videos: A number of PLoS Medicine authors have taken advantage of a video resource called SciVee to post 5-10 minute videos describing their published papers. The videos, or Pubcasts, are simple to produce, and are integrated with the paper such that the relevant parts of the paper are highlighted as the author discusses them. This example is from a paper describing the effect to California tobacco control program on personal health care expenditure.

Comments, Notes and Ratings: Once your paper is published, it is possible for anyone to comment, add notes and rate the paper through the interactive tools that we provide to encourage discussion.

2 Responses to Authors

  1. Pingback: Welcome to Speaking of Medicine! « Speaking of Medicine

  2. Pingback: Ask PLoS Medicine: What can medical journals do to address language barriers? « Speaking of Medicine

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