Last updated: May 22 2019
The Public Library of Science (PLOS) is dedicated to protecting your personal information and will make every reasonable effort to handle collected information appropriately. All information collected will be handled with care in accordance with PLOS’ standards for integrity and objectivity and respect for your privacy. PLOS endeavors to comply with all laws and regulations that apply to the gathering and use of personal information, including but not limited to US privacy laws, the EU General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), the EU-U.S. Privacy Shield Framework, and the Swiss-U.S. Privacy Shield. As used in this policy, “we” and “us” includes PLOS and our staff, employees, officers, directors, volunteer editors and reviewers, and vendors and independent contractors under contract with us. “PLOS Sites” includes the following: the web pages and content on the PLOS websites, journal sites, and the tools, software, submission systems, web forms, registration system, and any other means through which we interact with you.
INFORMATION WE MAY COLLECT
While interacting with the PLOS Sites, we may request personal information from you, which may include items such as your name, mailing address, email address, company name, institutional affiliation, telephone number, credit card or other payment information, and ORCID iD. Your provision of such information is strictly voluntary. You can generally visit the PLOS Sites without disclosing such information. If you register on a PLOS website, we will gather and store your user name and password.
If you are an author who is submitting or has submitted a manuscript or other research outputs to PLOS for our consideration or for posting on our sites or as a preprint, we will require you to provide the above types of information so that we may consider, process, and possibly publish your paper, in conformance with accepted publishing standards. Where your paper is published or posted as a preprint, at least your name, affiliation, and ORCID iD will appear as part of the paper. Likewise, when you register on a PLOS site for updates or to receive other types of notifications from us, we will ask for your email address at a minimum to enable us to send you the information you have requested.
Additionally, by means of your interactions with the PLOS Sites, we may collect, have access to, store and use your computer’s IP address, the URL/domain name of any referring website, the time and date of your visit to the PLOS Sites, and certain information known as “clickstream data” to enable us to understand how people interact with the PLOS Sites, to analyze data for trends and statistics, to help diagnose and solve issues with the PLOS Sites and our technologies, products, and services, and to optimize the performance of the PLOS Sites. We also use session cookies, small data files stored in your browser so you don’t have to log in each time you visit any of our web pages. From time to time, we use software tools to play back user sessions for purposes of assessing our customers’ interactions with our software, and these sessions may be linked to your user account. If you do not want session cookies stored on your computer, you may be able to adjust your browser settings to prevent this, but 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 Sites.
Protection of Children
Use of the PLOS Sites is intended for adults at least eighteen (18) years of age, and we will not knowingly collect personally-identifying information from children under the age of thirteen (13). PLOS endeavors to adhere to the provisions of the Children’s Online Privacy Protection Rule (“COPPA”).
HOW WE MAY USE AND DISCLOSE YOUR INFORMATION
Use by PLOS
PLOS uses your personal information as described above, and to customize your experience on the PLOS Sites and to facilitate our interactions with you. If you are an author, we will use your personal information for the purpose of processing, reviewing, communicating about, facilitating editorial review and peer review, for publishing, and to facilitate payment of article processing charges. If you are an editor or reviewer, we may use your personal information to contact you about your potential or actual role as an editor or reviewer, to request and facilitate your review and handling of manuscripts, and to update you on news and developments at PLOS as it may affect your work with us. If you simply come to PLOS websites to read content, we will use information such as your URL and cookies to provide a good experience, as described above.
Except as where necessary to provide services to you, PLOS staff do not typically take note of your personal information; the information is mainly stored on or by our computers, computer networks, servers, tools, and systems, as described above.
Potential Disclosure to Third Parties
If you submit a manuscript to us for possible publishing, we will send the title and abstract of your paper, and your name, to one or more potential editors and reviewers, to gauge their interest in reviewing your paper. If they agree to handle your paper, we will send them your full manuscript and any revisions and relevant comments you have provided relating thereto.
If you choose to have your manuscript published as a preprint, we will send your manuscript to our preprint partner(s) for posting of your paper.
If an author chooses to publish their peer review history, then emails and other communications between reviewers, editors and authors via a PLOS Site will be made public. If you are a reviewer and provide us with your consent, we will disclose your name as part of the peer review history when an article is published and the author has chosen to publish the peer review history. To remove your name from the peer review history after disclosure to the public, you can email firstname.lastname@example.org.
We share only the information necessary for third parties to provide the intended products and services. In some cases, the applications or user interfaces you encounter while on our sites are managed by third parties, who may require that you provide your personal information and who have assured us of their compliance with applicable laws.
No Sale or Leasing of Your Information
HOW LONG WE RETAIN YOUR INFORMATION
We keep your personal information for as long as is necessary to provide services to you, and for as long as your account and/or registration with PLOS is active. We will retain and use your information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, to resolve disputes, and to enforce our agreements.
ADDITIONAL REASONS WHY WE MAY GATHER, USE, DISCLOSE, AND STORE PERSONAL INFORMATION
PROTECTION OF PERSONAL INFORMATION
We endeavor to protect the personal information we receive, gather and store, by such means as password protection, firewalls, encryption, and other means.
THIRD PARTY WEBSITES
If, in your interactions with the PLOS Sites, you are linked or directed to, or click on, a third party website, we cannot control what information you may provide to that party or on/at that website, or how that party may use or disclose any information you may provide to them. As such, we urge that you exercise caution before providing them with your personal information.
CONSENT TO RECEIVE EMAIL COMMUNICATIONS
Except in countries or jurisdictions where it is not be permitted by law, we may from time to time send you email communications regarding our business, products or services in response to your use of the PLOS Sites, and by providing your email address, you consent to receive such communications. Where required by law, we will request that you opt-in (consent) to receive such communications from us before sending you such information.
You may opt out of receiving such communications by contacting us at email@example.com or by using the unsubscribe link(s) in emails we send you.
HOW TO CONTACT US REGARDING YOUR PERSONAL INFORMATION
If you wish to discuss what personal information we may have pertaining to you, or the handling or potential disclosure of the same, or you wish to withdraw consent regarding these matters or to ask us to delete your personal information, you may contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org.