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PLoS ONE is an open access
Open access journal
Open access journals are scholarly journals that are available online to the reader "without financial, legal, or technical barriers other than those inseparable from gaining access to the internet itself." Some are subsidized, and some require payment on behalf of the author.Subsidized journals...

Peer review
Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility...

 scientific journal
Scientific journal
In academic publishing, a scientific journal is a periodical publication intended to further the progress of science, usually by reporting new research. There are thousands of scientific journals in publication, and many more have been published at various points in the past...

 published by the Public Library of Science
Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science is a nonprofit open-access scientific publishing project aimed at creating a library of open access journals and other scientific literature under an open content license...

 since 2006. It covers primary research
Primary research
Primary research consists in research to collect original primary data. It is often undertaken after the researcher has gained some insight into the issue by collecting secondary data...

 from any discipline within science
Science is a systematic enterprise that builds and organizes knowledge in the form of testable explanations and predictions about the universe...

 and medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

. All submissions go through an internal and external pre-publication peer review
Peer review
Peer review is a process of self-regulation by a profession or a process of evaluation involving qualified individuals within the relevant field. Peer review methods are employed to maintain standards, improve performance and provide credibility...

 but are not excluded on the basis of lack of perceived importance or adherence to a scientific field. The PLoS ONE online platform has post-publication user discussion and rating features.


PLoS ONE was launched in December 2006 as a beta version. It launched with Commenting and Note making functionality, and added the ability to rate articles in July 2007. In September 2007 the ability to leave "trackbacks" on articles was added. In August 2008 it moved from a weekly publication schedule to a daily one, publishing articles as soon as they became ready. In October 2008 PLoS ONE came out of "beta". Also in September 2009, as part of its "Article-Level Metrics" program, PLoS ONE made the full online usage data for every published article (HTML page views, PDF, and XML downloads) publicly available.


In 2006 the journal published 138 articles; in 2007 it published just over 1,200 articles; and in 2008 it published almost 2,800 articles, making it the largest open access journal in the world. In 2009, 4,406 articles were published, making PLoS ONE the third largest scientific journal in the world (by volume) and in 2010 6,749 articles were published, making the journal the largest in the world (by volume).


The founding managing editor was Chris Surridge. He was succeeded by Peter Binfield in March 2008.

Publication concept

PLoS ONE is built on several conceptually different ideas compared to traditional peer-reviewed scientific publishing in that it does not use the perceived importance of a paper as a criterion for acceptance or rejection. The idea is that, instead, PLoS ONE only verifies whether experiments and data analysis were conducted rigorously, and leaves it to the scientific community to ascertain importance, post publication, through debate and comment. This, however, is not always achieved in practice since editors and reviewers might have a subjective opinion about the articles they are reviewing which in turn might lead to the acception or rejection of papers of doubtful quality or intent.
According to Nature
Nature (journal)
Nature, first published on 4 November 1869, is ranked the world's most cited interdisciplinary scientific journal by the Science Edition of the 2010 Journal Citation Reports...

, the journal's aim is to "challenge academia
Academia is the community of students and scholars engaged in higher education and research.-Etymology:The word comes from the akademeia in ancient Greece. Outside the city walls of Athens, the gymnasium was made famous by Plato as a center of learning...

's obsession with journal status and impact factor
Impact factor
The impact factor, often abbreviated IF, is a measure reflecting the average number of citations to articles published in science and social science journals. It is frequently used as a proxy for the relative importance of a journal within its field, with journals with higher impact factors deemed...

s." Being an online-only publication allows PLoS ONE to publish more papers than a print journal. It does not restrict itself to a specific scientific area in an effort to facilitate publication of research on topics outside, or between, traditional science categories.

Papers published in PLoS ONE can be of any length, contain full color throughout, and contain supplementary materials (such as multimedia files). Reuse of articles is subject to a Creative Commons Attribution License
Creative Commons licenses
Creative Commons licenses are several copyright licenses that allow the distribution of copyrighted works. The licenses differ by several combinations that condition the terms of distribution. They were initially released on December 16, 2002 by Creative Commons, a U.S...

, version 2.5. The journal uses an editorial board of almost 1,400 academics and in the first four years following launch it made use of over 35,000 external peer reviewers. PLoS ONE publishes approximately 70 % of all submissions, after review by, on average, 2.8 experts.

Business model

As with all journals of the Public Library of Science, PLoS ONE is financed by charging authors a publication fee. The "author-pays" model allows PLoS journals to provide all articles to everybody for free (open access) immediately after publication. As of July 2010, PLoS ONE charges authors $1,350 to publish an article. It will waive the fee for authors who do not have sufficient funds. This model has drawn criticism, however. Richard Poynder argues that journals such as PLoS ONE that charge authors for publication rather than charging users for access may produce a conflict of interest
Conflict of interest
A conflict of interest occurs when an individual or organization is involved in multiple interests, one of which could possibly corrupt the motivation for an act in the other....

 that reduces peer review standards (accept more articles, earn more revenue). Stevan Harnad
Stevan Harnad
Stevan Harnad is a cognitive scientist.- Career :Harnad was born in Budapest, Hungary. He did his undergraduate work at McGill University and his graduate work at Princeton University's Department of Psychology...

 instead argues for a "no fault" peer review model, in which authors are charged for each round of peer review, regardless of the outcome, rather than for publication.

Community recognition and citation information

In September 2009, PLoS ONE received the Publishing Innovation Award of the Association for Learned and Professional Society Publishers
Association for Learned and Professional Society Publishers
The Association of Learned and Professional Society Publishers is an international trade association of non-profit publishers created in 1972 It is the largest association of scholarly and professional publishers in the world, claiming "more than 360 members in 36 countries". It was granted in...

. The award is given in recognition of a "truly innovative approach to any aspect of publication as adjudged from originality and innovative qualities, together with utility, benefit to the community and long term prospects". In January 2010 it was announced that it was to be analyzed by Journal Citation Reports
Journal Citation Reports
Journal Citation Reports is an annual publication by the Healthcare & Science division of Thomson Reuters. It has been integrated with the Web of Knowledge, by Thomson Reuters, and is accessed from the Web of Science to JCR Web. It provides information about academic journals in the sciences and...

. Its 2010 impact factor is 4.411. Additionally, the Scopus
Scopus, officially named SciVerse Scopus, is a bibliographic database containing abstracts and citations for academic journal articles. It covers nearly 18,000 titles from over 5,000 international publishers, including coverage of 16,500 peer-reviewed journals in the scientific, technical, medical,...

 Journal Analyzer reports a "trend line" (total citations to all articles ever published received in a year divided by total number of articles published in that year) value of 3.74 for PLoS ONE for the year 2009 (up to February 10, 2010).

A number of Nobel
Nobel Prize
The Nobel Prizes are annual international awards bestowed by Scandinavian committees in recognition of cultural and scientific advances. The will of the Swedish chemist Alfred Nobel, the inventor of dynamite, established the prizes in 1895...

 Laureates have published studies in PLoS ONE, including Françoise Barré-Sinoussi
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi
Françoise Barré-Sinoussi is a French virologist and director of the Unité de Régulation des Infections Rétrovirales at the Institut Pasteur in Paris, France. Born in Paris, France, Barré-Sinoussi performed some of the fundamental work in the identification of the human immunodeficiency virus as...

, Elizabeth H. Blackburn
Elizabeth Blackburn
Elizabeth Helen Blackburn, AC, FRS is an Australian-born American biological researcher at the University of California, San Francisco, who studies the telomere, a structure at the end of chromosomes that protects the chromosome. Blackburn co-discovered telomerase, the enzyme that replenishes the...

, Jack W. Szostak
Jack W. Szostak
Jack William Szostak is a Canadian American biologist of Polish British descent and Professor of Genetics at Harvard Medical School and Alexander Rich Distinguished Investigator at Massachusetts General Hospital, Boston. He was awarded the 2009 Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine, along with...

, Oliver Smithies
Oliver Smithies
Oliver Smithies is a British-born American geneticist and Nobel laureate, credited with the invention of gel electrophoresis in 1955, and the simultaneous discovery, with Mario Capecchi and Martin Evans, of the technique of homologous recombination of transgenic DNA with genomic DNA, a much more...

, and Barry Marshall
Barry Marshall
Barry James Marshall, AC, FRS, FAA is an Australian physician, Nobel Prize laureate in Physiology or Medicine, and Professor of Clinical Microbiology at the University of Western Australia. Marshall is well-known for proving that the bacterium Helicobacter pylori Barry James Marshall, AC, FRS, FAA...


In January 2011, Nature Publishing Group
Nature Publishing Group
Nature Publishing Group is an international publishing company that publishes academic journals, online databases, and services across the life, physical, chemical and applied sciences and clinical medicine...

 announced a competing journal, which many have claimed to be conceptually similar to PLoS ONE, named Scientific Reports
Scientific Reports
Scientific Reports is an online open access scientific journal published by the Nature Publishing Group, covering all areas of the natural sciences. According to the press release, it is a journal conceptually similar to PLoS ONE....

. According to the press release:

Abstracting and indexing

The articles are indexed in:

External links