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When you choose to publish with PLOS, your research makes an impact. Make your work accessible to all, without restrictions, and accelerate scientific discovery with options like preprints and published peer review that make your work more Open.

Publishing FAQs

Have unanswered questions? Find answers here.

About PLOS

The Public Library of Science (PLOS) was founded in 2001 as a nonprofit organization to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. We strive to bring scientists together and to share their work as rapidly and as widely as possible, to advance science and to benefit society as a whole. We are constantly looking for ways to use emerging technology and new ideas to open up scientific communication—to make it faster, more efficient, more connected and more useful.

Learn more about PLOS.

PLOS is a nonprofit organization created to serve the interests of scientists and the public good. In contrast to more closed publication models, openness inspires how we think about science and publishing. Openness describes not just free and unrestricted access to research, but also open data sharing, transparency in peer review and an open community approach to science assessment.

Read about our distinguishing Vision and Core Principles.

With rigorous reporting and peer review, PLOS journals are highly respected and influential in all areas of science—from biology to ecology and nanoscience to neuroscience. PLOS works closely with an international team of Academic Editors who are experts in their respective fields and communities to provide authors with an efficient, fair and thorough review process. PLOS gives work the widest possible audience by making it immediately and freely available to anyone, anywhere in the world.

See top reasons Why Authors Publish with PLOS.

Open Access journals today vary widely across a spectrum from Open Access to restricted access based on the core components of reader rights, reuse rights, copyrights and more. All PLOS content is at the highest possible level of Open Access, meaning that scientific articles are immediately and freely available to anyone, anywhere, to be downloaded, printed, distributed, read, reused and remixed (including commercially) without restriction, as long as the author and the original source are properly attributed according to the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY).

Learn more about the benefits of Open Access journals.

CC BY (Creative Commons Attribution) is the most accommodating of public copyright licenses as defined by Creative Commons, a nonprofit organization that provides legal tools for sharing and use of creative works and research. The CC BY license is recommended for maximum dissemination and use of licensed materials. All PLOS content is available under CC BY, meaning anyone is free to use and reuse the content provided the original source and authors are credited.

CC BY is the appropriate license for publicly funded research; it maximizes the potential for both economic and scholarly impact, protects the rights of authors and strengthens the long-standing tradition of appropriate attribution and credit for scholarship.

More than 100,000 authors from over 190 countries, including 64 Nobel Laureates, have published with PLOS. Authors who seek highly respected, peer-reviewed journals that reach the widest possible audience choose to publish with PLOS.

See more reasons Why Authors Publish with PLOS.

Yes. However, Article-Level Metrics (ALMs), which shift the emphasis on impact from the level of the journal as a whole to the level of an individual article, provide a more accurate, evolving and complete way to assess article impact. We believe that articles should be judged on their own merit not on the basis of the journal in which they were published. ALMs also reveal the influence of an article before the accumulation of citations.

Learn more about ALMs.

Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) measure the reach and impact of individual articles using both academic and social sources, highlighting the many ways in which both scientists and the general public are engaging with the research. This includes downloads, citations, blogs, media coverage, social media shares, comments and Wikipedia mentions. ALMs reveal the influence of an article before the accumulation of citations, help prioritize what to read in the growing body of Open Access literature and help assess the impact of funding sources. ALMs shift the conversation surrounding an article’s influence away from the journal and toward the individual article.

Learn more about ALMs.

PLOS Editorial Information

PLOS publishes a suite of Open Access journals across all areas of science and medicine: PLOS ONE, PLOS Biology, PLOS Medicine, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases and PLOS Pathogens. All journals are peer reviewed, featuring quality research, expert commentary and critical analysis. Each journal is editorially independent and specialized with regard to both its selection criteria and breadth of content.

Learn more about each journal’s scope.

All PLOS journals are peer reviewed. PLOS upholds the highest international standards for research ethics, publication ethics and scientific reporting. From the start, PLOS instituted a rigorous peer review process, and the care that PLOS takes in reporting and oversight is rooted in a firm commitment to editorial responsibility. PLOS works closely with an international team of over 7,000 academic editors and 74,000 reviewers who are experts in their respective fields and communities to provide authors with an efficient, fair and thorough review process.

If you are interested in reviewing for PLOS ONE see Becoming a Reviewer. If you are interested in reviewing for any of the other six PLOS journals, please send an email to the general journal contact

Please see the individual journal contact for specific questions.

PLOS Submissions, Review and Publication

Please see the overview of steps to a successful submission.

No, there are no limits on manuscript length or numbers of figures in PLOS journal articles.

PLOS ONE does not accept pre-submission inquiries and only PLOS Medicine requires them. Pre-submission inquiries are optional for the remaining journals PLOS Biology, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS NTDs and PLOS Pathogens. If your manuscript is not ready for submission, but you’d like to inquire about the suitability of your study for PLOS Biology, please email a referenced summary of the research to plosbiology@plos.org.

PLOS strives to provide a seamless transfer between its journals at the author’s choosing. Authors may request a transfer of a submitted article from one PLOS journal to another. Please contact the journal in question for further information.

Yes. The PLOS Embargo Policy serves scientists, journalists and the public by providing fair and equal access to our published articles. Accepted manuscripts are under embargo until 2 PM Eastern Time, US, on the date of publication. This is the time when the article becomes available online. Stories or reports on accepted articles may not be published, broadcast, posted online or placed in the public domain before the embargo date and time. Precise embargo dates and times will be clearly marked on all advance material.

Learn more about the PLOS Embargo Policy.

All published articles are deposited in PubMed Central. PLOS content is also indexed widely by services such as Scopus, Web of Science, Google Scholar and others.

Yes. PLOS Article-Level Metrics (ALMs) measure the reach and impact of every PLOS article from both academic and social sources, including downloads, citations, blogs, media coverage, social media shares, comments and Wikipedia mentions. This enables you to track the many ways in which both scientists and the general public engage with your published work. ALMs reveal the influence of an article before the accumulation of citations and provide an evolving and complete picture of an article’s reach.

Learn more about ALMs.

PLOS journals feature an online commenting system that all readers, authors and editors are encouraged to view and use; comments are visible directly on the article. Simply sign into or register for a PLOS account and get started.


Publication Fees & Fee Assistance

PLOS articles are Open Access, which means that, upon publication, articles are immediately and freely available online to read, distribute and reuse. To offset costs associated with peer review management, journal production and online hosting and archiving, PLOS charges a publication fee, also known as an Article Processing Charge (APC).

Publication fees vary by journal and are payable for articles upon acceptance. 

Publication fees are subject to change.  The APC is charged at the applicable rates effective on your submission date. 

If you received an invoice from PLOS, you can pay it here.

Payment is due when PLOS accepts the article for publication. Learn more about PLOS publication fees and fee assistance .

The person who submits the manuscript is responsible for the publication fee payment. Learn more about PLOS publication fees and fee assistance.

Yes. The PLOS Global Participation and Publication Fee Assistance programs provide full or partial support to authors. We believe that lack of funds should not be a barrier to Open Access publication. 

  • PLOS Global Participation Initiative (GPI), for low- and middle-income countries
    Authors’ research that is funded primarily (50% or more) by an institution or organization from eligible low- and middle-income countries will receive partial (Group 2 countries) or full (Group 1 countries) funding paid by the PLOS Global Participation Initiative (GPI). Group 2 country authors who need to request additional support should apply for PLOS Publication Fee Assistance instead of the PLOS GPI.
  • PLOS Publication Fee Assistance (PFA)
    PLOS provides direct fee assistance through its Publication Fee Assistance (PFA) program, created for authors unable to pay all or part of their publication fees. 

PFA Program details

  • An author’s application for PFA must be made when they submit an article for publication. A decision is communicated usually within 10 business days. PLOS considers applications on a case-by-case basis.
  • Authors should exhaust all alternative funding sources before applying for PFA. The application form includes questions on the availability of alternative funding sources such as the authors’ or co-authors’ institution, institutional library, government agencies and research funders. Funding disclosure information provided by authors will be used as part of the PFA application review.
  • PLOS publication decisions will continue to be based solely on editorial criteria. Information about an applicant’s application for fee assistance will not be disclosed to journal editors or reviewers. 
  • Assistance must be formally applied for at submission.  Requests made during the review process or after acceptance will not be considered.  Authors cannot apply for the fee assistance by email or through direct request to journal editors. 

For more information, see the PLOS Global Participation Initiative FAQs.

PLOS offers individual fee support through the PLOS Global Participation Initiative (GPI) for authors from eligible low- and middle-income countries. Authors’ research that is funded primarily (50% or more of the work contained within the article) by an institution or organization from eligible countries will receive partial (Group 2 countries) or full (Group 1 countries) funding paid by the PLOS Global Participation Initiative. Group 2 PLOS GPI country authors who need to request additional support should apply for PLOS PFA instead of the PLOS GPI.

For more information, see the PLOS Global Participation Initiative FAQs.

PLOS offers an Institutional Account Program to assist institutions in providing financial support to their researchers. Participating institutions have arrangements with PLOS to administer payment for full APCs for their authors. Note to authors: Certain institutions will restrict payment coverage to specific grant recipients or PLOS journal only.

To be eligible, an author must be a corresponding author affiliated with the institution or agency in the PLOS Institutional Account Program

Authors may also be eligible for direct funding from their institution or funder, separate from the PLOS Institutional Program. Learn more about funding options, or see a list of institutions, compiled by PLOS, with Open Access funds. To confirm amounts and details of funding and eligibility, authors should contact their organization directly.

Authors from institutions with restricted funds who need additional support — and have no other means of funding — may apply for PLOS Publication Fee Assistance.

Funding assistance for PLOS publications fees, also known as Article Processing Charges (APCs), is available from many organizations including institutions, research centers, foundations, government institutions and from PLOS itself.

Institutional Account Program

To be eligible for full payment of publications fees, one must be the corresponding author primarily affiliated with the participating institution or agency in the Institutional Account Program. Each institution reserves the right to accept or reject who they will fund per their internal funding policies. If an institution chooses to reject the payment for Article Processing Charges (APCs), PLOS will invoice the authors individually, who retain full payment responsibility.

Note to authors: certain institutions will restrict payment coverage to specific grant recipients or PLOS journal only. Please refer to program participant list for more information.  

Visit the Institutional Account Program web page or contact institutionalaccounts@plos.org to set up a plan or to get additional information.

PLOS Community Action Publishing

Community Action Publishing is a type of “collective action” business model that can equitably distribute the cost of selective, Open Access publishing among institutions rather than charging high APCs to individual authors.

Collective action is predicated on the assumption that entities that work together as a group – or collective – can achieve outcomes more effectively than working individually. 

In the case of PLOS Medicine and PLOS Biology, the community goal is to cover the costs of the journals (plus a 10% capped margin) by equitably distributing cost among the institutions of both corresponding and contributing authors. Members of the collective can eliminate or reduce their authors’ publication fees

Beginning January 1, 2021, PLOS Community Action Publishing (CAP) ensures publication fees for accepted manuscripts at PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine will automatically be covered if the authors’ institutions are members of our journal communities.

Community Action Publishing takes into account the contributions of every author — not just corresponding authors — to help distribute publishing costs equitably among the institutions who support them. This ensures institutional members are charged a fair fee based solely on their authors’ publishing history. Their membership guarantees funding for their authors’ future publications

Community Action Publishing is only available for PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine. However, each of our other PLOS journals offers a Flat Fee model that provides a way for institutions to cover their authors’ publishing costs.

If you are planning to submit to PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS NTDs, PLOS ONE, or PLOS Pathogens, check our institutional partners page to find out if your institution provides automatic fee support. 

We’re working with institutions to make sure authors receive notifications and guides to accessing their benefits when their institution joins either of our journal communities.

To check your institution’s current membership status, view the list of our current partners here.

Both corresponding and coauthor membership plays a role in assessing non-member fees. If all authors of a manuscript are members, their publication fees are already covered. If you are the corresponding author and your institution is a member, we are currently waiving the non-member fee. If the corresponding author is not a member, but some of the coauthors are, the corresponding authors will be subject to the new non-member fee, with a 25% discount.

Community Action Publishing can eliminate author publication fees entirely if a majority of our frequent-use institutions join.

If all authors of a manuscript are members, their publication fees are automatically covered. If you are the corresponding author and your institution is a member, we are currently waiving the non-member fee.

If you are the corresponding author, and your institution is a member, we will waive your publication fees even if your co-authors are not currently members. 

Upon submitting your manuscript to either PLOS Biology or PLOS Medicine, be sure to list your institutional affiliation in our submission system, Editorial Manager. If your work is accepted for publication, we’ll check this field and ensure that your benefits are applied to any publication fees. 

If you are the corresponding author, or if all authors of the manuscripts are members, your publication fees are automatically covered. If the corresponding author is not a member, but at least one of the manuscript’s co-authors is a member, you’ll receive a 25% discount towards the non-member fee. 

After submission, corresponding authors receive an estimate from our billing system, Copyright Clearance Center, indicating the expected publication fees based on the current membership status of each author. If any author’s institution joins our journal communities before your work is accepted, your actual publication fee could be less. Results of any application to our Publication Fee Assistance program will not be shown in this estimate.

If a corresponding author is not a member, their manuscript is subject to a non-member fee. However, if one or more of your co-authors is a member, their participation provides a 25% discount.

Authors whose institutions have not yet joined our journal communities will be subject to an increased non-member fee for new manuscripts submitted and accepted for publication after January 1, 2021.

Authors who submit their work in 2020 will be charged the 2020 publication fee, even if their work is published in 2021. 

Below is a breakdown of current fees based on article type and submission date.

 PLOS BiologyPLOS Medicine
Article TypeManuscripts submitted before Jan 1, 2021Manuscripts submitted after Jan 1, 2021Manuscripts submitted before Jan1, 2021Manuscripts submitted after Jan 1, 2021
Research Article: 3,000 USD4,000 USD3,000 USD4,000 USD
Discovery Report:2,500 USD3,350 USD  
Update Article:1,700 USD2,250 USD  

We believe publication cost should never be a barrier for authors who want to make their work Open Access. Under this new model, authors primarily based in Research4Life countries are automatically included in both memberships and will not face publication fees. Our fee waiver program is also available to assist any author who is unable to pay publication fees.

We’re reaching out to every institution whose authors frequently publish PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine to help us build this new model for Open Access, and eliminate fees for their authors. 

Hearing from authors like you can help. You can contact your institution directly, or use this form to tell them you want their support.

If you’ve already submitted a manuscript, you can still encourage your institutions to join at any point while your submission is in process. If your institution joins the journal community before your work is accepted, their support will apply to your current work, as well as your future publications. 

Institutions commit to a one-year membership (January 1 — December 31) when they join either of our communities and can renew their membership each year. Institutions that join either model partway through the calendar year will still need to renew their membership on December 31 to continue their authors’ benefits. 

We encourage institutions to join for at least three years to maintain consistency for their authors and realize the benefits of broader community support. Institutions’ membership fees are re-assessed each year based on their authors’ most recent publication activity.

Institutions who join either journal community commit to a one-year membership. If an institution decides to drop out of the agreement during that time, authors will still receive membership benefits for any manuscript accepted before the remainder of that year. After the end of the term, authors may be subject to non-member fees, but you can encourage your institution to rejoin at any point.

Over the next three years, non-member fees for PLOS Biology and PLOS Medicine will increase in order to truly cover the publishing costs for these journals. Authors may be responsible for these fees if their institutions are not members of the CAP journal communities. 

We’ve made the decision to increase fees slowly, in order to give institutions in the scholarly community time to transition to a new model for Open Access. If a majority of the institutions whose authors publish frequently in our journals join CAP, we can eliminate author publication fees altogether. 

We believe publication cost should never be a barrier for authors who want to make their work Open Access. Under this new model, authors primarily based in Research4Life countries will automatically have their publication fees covered and our fee waiver program is available to assist any author who is unable to pay publication fees. 

For authors whose institutions are CAP members, new partnership benefits will apply to manuscripts that receive an “Accept” decision anytime after January 1, 2021. Because the peer review and editorial process takes several weeks, submissions currently in review, or submitted before December 31, 2020 will likely not receive a final “Accept” decision until early 2021, in which case your manuscript will be eligible for CAP benefits.

You should submit your manuscript whenever you feel it’s ready for publication. Your institution can join either of our journal communities at any point while your submission is in process and we’ll make sure those benefits apply to your accepted work.

PLOS Flat Fee Agreements

Through our Flat Fee agreement, institutions help ensure all authors have equal access to make their work Open at PLOS, regardless of individual funding resources. Their support significantly reduces or eliminates publication costs for corresponding authors at PLOS ONE, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS Pathogens. 

Some institutions may choose to require an author surcharge to offset their annual fee. This allows institutions to make use of the authors’ traditional grant funding streams as they transition to a relatively new system of Open Access publication support. PLOS will continue to provide publication fee assistance to any author who is unable to pay the author surcharge.

You can check to see if your institution is a partner, and view any applicable fees, by viewing our list of institutional partners.

Flat Fee benefits are applied to corresponding authors at affiliated institutions. To check whether your institution is a partner, view our list of institutional partners.

All publications in PLOS ONE, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS Pathogens are included in the Flat Fee agreement. 

Yes. Flat Fee participation covers all article types at any of the eligible journals, including any new article types that become available during the agreement period. 

Researchers may still be responsible for any author surcharges an institution has elected to include. 

Upon submitting your manuscript to any of the five eligible PLOS journals, be sure to list your institutional affiliation in our submission system, Editorial Manager. If your work is accepted for publication, we’ll check this field and ensure that your benefits are applied to waive or reduce any publication fees.

Through our Flat Fee model, institutions are able to eliminate or reduce publication costs for their authors’ publications in PLOS ONE, PLOS Computational Biology, PLOS Genetics, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, and PLOS Pathogens. Institutions may choose to provide similar benefits to their authors publishing in PLOS Biology or PLOS Medicine through Community Action Publishing.

For most authors, the benefits of each model are the same. Both Flat Fees and CAP aim to provide a path to Open Access publishing for authors who lack funding for publication fees. You can find more information on PLOS CAP on our website and in the FAQs here.

PLOS is currently experimenting with different models focusing on addressing specific problems in Open Access publishing. PLOS Community Action Publishing (CAP) specifically aims to address the high cost of selective journals through broader, more equitable distribution of costs. Our Flat Fee model reduces administrative overhead for both institutions and authors while reducing or eliminating publication fees for authors. 

All of our institutional partnership models aim to make Open Access more accessible to authors of all backgrounds and funding circumstances, and we believe institutions are key partners in this work. By iterating in small steps, with a diversity of business models, we can gather information about what’s working, report our results, and use our learnings to improve future offerings. 

PLOS Global Participation Initiative

The PLOS Global Participation Initiative (GPI) is a publication fee assistance program that aims to encourage submissions from researchers around the world who previously may have been prevented or limited in their ability to publish in Open Access journals. The initiative aims to tackle barriers to publication based on cost and specifically related to lack of designated funds for APC payment.

Authors’ research that is funded primarily (50% or more) by an institution or organization from eligible low- and middle-income countries will receive partial or full fee funding paid by the PLOS Global Participation Initiative (GPI). Eligibility for the PLOS GPI is based on the country that provided the research funding, not the country the author is from. If the author’s research funder is based in a Group 1 country, the PLOS GPI will cover the entire publication fee and there will be no charge. If the research funder’s country is part of Group 2, the PLOS GPI will cover part of the publication fee and the remaining publication fee will be $500 USD.

Group 2 PLOS GPI country authors who need to request additional support should apply for PLOS Publication Fee Assistance instead of the PLOS GPI.

Example 1:

If an author is from Ghana and the research funding is sourced from the country’s government, the author will qualify for Group 1 and the publication fee will be fully covered by the PLOS GPI.

Example 2:

If an author from Ghana receives primary research funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in the United States, the author will not be eligible for Group 1 rates. The author will be charged the standard publication fee and will be ineligible for PLOS GPI, because the research funding was provided by a country not included on the PLOS GPI list—in this case the US.

Countries that meet the eligibility criteria for HINARI qualify for the PLOS’ Global Participation Initiative. PLOS updates the list of qualifying countries annually to match HINARI.

PLOS Group 2 country authors who need to request additional support should apply for PLOS Publication Fee Assistance instead of the PLOS GPI.

No. PLOS publication decisions are based solely on editorial criteria. Information about PLOS GPI or any PLOS fee support program status is not revealed to editors or reviewers.

PLOS GPI funding eligibility is determined by answering questions during the manuscript submission process.

Authors must apply for GPI funding at time of manuscript submission.  PLOS Group 2 country authors who need to request additional support should apply for PLOS Publication Fee Assistance instead of the PLOS GPI. 

The PLOS GPI eligibility is based on the country that provided the research funding, not the country the author is from.

Should a non-GPI based author apply for GPI funding, the author will be invoiced in full and GPI eligibility review will be conducted after receipt of invoice. If found ineligible, author is expected to pay standard fees.

In the case of multiple authors, the institution or organization funding 50% or more of the research is the primary funding source. If that institution or organization is based in an eligible low- or middle-income country, the article is eligible to receive full or partial fee funding paid for by the PLOS GPI.

PLOS Publication Fee Assistance Program

Since the organization’s inception, PLOS has provided direct fee assistance through the PLOS Publication Fee Assistance (PFA) program created for authors unable to pay all or part of their publication fees.

To apply, complete the PFA application, which is part of the manuscript submission process.

The application includes questions on the availability of alternative funding sources from the authors’ institution, funders, foundations and government agencies or other funding sources.

Authors must complete and submit the PFA application as part of article submission. Requests made during the review process or after acceptance will not be considered. Authors cannot apply for PFA by email or by via direct request to journal editors.

PLOS will make a decision usually within 10 business days of receiving an application.

The Publication Fee Assistance (PFA) program is intended for authors who demonstrate financial need. The first step in preparing for a PFA application is to investigate and exhaust all available alternative funding sources prior to applying. It is the author’s obligation to confirm amounts and details of funding and eligibility directly with their respective organization.

Be prepared to answer questions on alternative funding sources from your institution(s) and/or other funders, foundations and government agencies or other funding sources.

As part of PLOS’ case review process, we consider the answers provided in the PFA application, the manuscript funding disclosure and coauthor affiliations. PLOS may request additional information and/or request supporting documentation to help determine an author’s eligibility for PFA.

No, PLOS’ publication decision will continue to be based solely on editorial criteria. Information about an author’s application for fee assistance will not be disclosed to journal editors or reviewers.

The purpose of the PFA application is to identify those with demonstrated need due to lack of alternative sources of support from their institution, funders, foundations, government agencies or other sources. The application includes detailed questions on the availability of alternative funding sources for which authors may be eligible. Funding disclosures and coauthor affiliations will be reviewed as part of the application process.

Unsubstantiated applications are systematically denied. PFA decisions are final.

Yes, manuscripts may be withdrawn when notified of the PFA decision by sending an email to PFA@plos.org. Unless the manuscript is withdrawn, authors are obligated to pay the publication fee as determined through the PFA application process. Nonpayment will impact future submissions.

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