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PRIVACY POLICY
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PLOS Cookie Policy

Updated on September 30th, 2021

INTRODUCTION

We are the Public Library of Science (“PLOS”).  This Cookie Policy describes the types of cookies and other tracking technologies we use on the PLOS website, our purposes and basis for using them, and your choices regarding them. 

If you have questions about this Cookie Policy, please contact us at privacy@plos.org or send mail to:

Public Library of Science
Attn: Privacy
1265 Battery Street, Suite 200
San Francisco, CA 94111, USA

COOKIES AND OTHER TRACKING TECHNOLOGIES

Background

PLOS and our third-party partners, such as analytics and advertising partners, use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect certain information.  Cookies and other tracking technologies are used to distinguish you from other users on the PLOS website. This helps us provide you with a good experience when you browse our website and allows us to improve our site, analyze the use of our site, and deliver targeted advertising based on your browsing history on our site and other websites.  A cookie is a small file of letters and numbers that are stored on your device.

PLOS uses both first party and third-party cookies. First party cookies are served directly by us to your computer or device. Third-party cookies are served by a third party on our behalf. Cookies can be “persistent” or “session” based. Persistent cookies remain on your device after your browser is closed. Session cookies are deleted automatically once your browser is closed. PLOS uses both persistent and session cookies.

We also use technologies that are similar to cookies, such as tags and pixels. Tags are small portions of code which we use on the PLOS website to learn whether you have clicked on certain web content. A pixel is a similar type of technology used on the PLOS website for the purpose of counting the number of views for each of its published articles. Pixels are sent directly to our servers or to the third-party platform which has provided the pixel.

For the rest of this policy, “cookies” refer to both cookies and other tracking technologies. 

Types of Cookies 

PLOS uses strictly necessary cookies and optional cookies, as follows:

  • Strictly necessary.  Use of these cookies are required as they are essential to operating the PLOS website and necessary for us to operate certain features and maintain the security of the PLOS website.  
  • Optional cookies.
    • For functionality. Use of these cookies help operate the PLOS website by, for example, remembering your preferences so that you can navigate the PLOS website efficiently.
    • For performance and analytics. Use of these cookies analyze how the PLOS website is accessed, used, or performing to improve your user experience and to maintain, operate and continually improve the website. 
    • For marketing. Use of these cookies deliver contextual advertisements on the PLOS website and other websites and help us and third parties serve you targeted advertisements based on your browsing history on our website and other websites which may be tracked across different devices.

List of Cookies, Purpose, and Storage Periods

Below is a list of cookies on the PLOS website, information about the cookie provider, type of cookie, its purpose, and its storage period.

First Party

Cookie Provider Information Type Storage Period Purpose
JSESSIONID PLOS, USA Strictly necessary Session Manages a user’s authentication and session
plos-device-detected PLOS, USA Strictly necessary 2 Hours Manages display of desktop and mobile interfaces
CASTGC Google LLC
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Strictly necessary Session Ticket-granting cookie to support authentication and single sign-on.
CSRF-TOKEN PLOS, USA Strictly necessary Session Cross Site Request Forgery Token for site security.
flanders_session PLOS, USA Strictly necessary Session Reduces database calls by remembering data about the user as they click between pages on the PLOS website.

Third-Party

Cookie Provider Information Type Storage Period Purpose
IDE Google Ads (Google LLC)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Marketing 2 Years Used by Google DoubleClick to register and report the website user’s actions after viewing or clicking one of the advertiser’s ads with the purpose of measuring the efficacy of an ad and to present targeted ads to the user
NID Google Ads (Google LLC)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Marketing 6 Months Registers a unique ID that identifies a returning user’s device. The ID is used for targeted ads
1P_JAR Google Ads (Google LLC)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Marketing 30 Days Remembers preferences
gid Google Ads (Google LLC)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Performance and analytics 2 Years Collects information about how visitors use our website. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the website
ga Google Ads (Google LLC)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Performance and analytics 2 Years Collects information about how visitors use our website. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the website
gads Google Ads (Google LLC)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Marketing 1 Year Collects information about how visitors use our website. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the website
GCLB Google Cloud (Google LLC)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Strictly necessary Session Maintains continuity of session when IP addresses may change
dc_gtm Google Analytics (Google LLC)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Performance and analytics 1 Minute Collects information about how visitors use our website. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the website
gat_master Google Analytics (Google LLC)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Performance and analytics 1 Minute Collects information about how visitors use our website. We use the information to compile reports and to help us improve the website
personalization_id Twitter (Twitter, Inc.)
1355 Market St #900, San Francisco, CA 94103

https://twitter.com/en/privacy
Functional 2 Years Enables Twitter integration and social media sharing
atuvs AddThis (Oracle, Corp.)

Oracle Corporation
Attn: Global Data Protection Officer
Willis Tower
233 South Wacker Drive
45th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606 USA

https://www.oracle.com/legal/privacy/addthis-privacy-policy.html
Functional 30 Minutes Enables sharing of website content to social media and other platforms
atuvc AddThis (Oracle, Corp.)

Oracle Corporation
Attn: Global Data Protection Officer
Willis Tower
233 South Wacker Drive
45th Floor
Chicago, IL 60606 USA

https://www.oracle.com/legal/privacy/addthis-privacy-policy.html
Functional 13 Months Enables sharing of website content to social media and other platforms
wordpress_test_cookie WordPress (Automattic, Inc.)
60 29th Street #343
San Francisco, CA 94110 USA

https://automattic.com/privacy/
Strictly necessary Session This cookie is a test to determine if WordPress can place cookies. It does not identify the user
gat_journalsMaster Google Analytics (Google LLC)
1600 Amphitheatre Parkway Mountain View, CA 94043 USA

https://policies.google.com/privacy?hl=en-US
Performance and analytics 1 Minute Collects information about how visitors use our website

Legal Basis for Use of Cookies

PLOS uses cookies under the following legal basis:

  • PLOS’s legitimate interests (for users in the EU: Art. 6 (1) (f) GDPR). We use strictly necessary cookies based on PLOS’ legitimate interests. This includes:
    • to enable PLOS to provide our products and services to you, including website features
    • the legitimate interests of others, for example, to ensure the security of our website
    • to prevent fraud and other illegal activity.
  • Consent (for users in the EU: Art. 6 (1) (a) GDPR). We place optional cookies on the basis of your consent, which you may withdraw at any time after giving it, as described in this Cookie Policy. 

For users in the EU: The US is assessed by the European Court of Justice as a country with an insufficient level of data protection.  If you consent, you agree in accordance with Art. 49 (1) (a) (GDPR) that your data may be processed outside the EEA, including in the United States.

How to Manage Cookies 

Withdrawing Consent

If you do not wish to accept optional cookies in connection with your use of the PLOS website or wish to withdraw your consent, you can opt out by clicking on Cookie Preferences <link>. 

Browser Settings 

To opt-out of our use of necessary cookies, you can change your browser settings to stop accepting cookies or to prompt you before accepting cookies from websites you visit. You can delete cookies in your browser settings at any time. Please note that by not accepting cookies, some pages may not fully function, and you may not be able to access certain information on the PLOS website.

“Do-Not-Track”

PLOS does not track users over time and across third party websites to provide targeted advertising and therefore does not respond to Do Not Track (DNT) signals. Third parties that have content embedded on the PLOS website such as social sharing features may set cookies on a user’s browser and/or obtain information about the fact that a web browser visited a specific PLOS website from a certain IP address. 

Google Analytics

For information on how Google Analytics collects and processes data, visit www.google.com/policies/privacy/partners/.  To opt-out of Google Analytics, visit Google’s “How you can control the information collected by Google on these sites and apps” article available here.

Changes to this policy

Any changes we may make to this Cookie Policy in the future will be posted on this page.

Further Information

Questions, comments and requests regarding this Cookie Policy should be addressed to privacy@plos.org.

If you would like further information about how we process personal data collected through PLOS websites, please see our Privacy Policy.  

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