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PLOS ONE logo 2012.svg
Abbreviated title (ISO 4)
Discipline Multidisciplinary
Language English
Edited by Damian Pattinson
Publication details
Publication history
Frequency Articles published upon acceptance
License Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 International
ISSN 1932-6203
LCCN 2006214532
OCLC no. 228234657

PLOS ONE (originally PLoS ONE) is an open access peer-reviewed scientific journal published by the Public Library of Science (PLOS) since 2006. It is the world’s largest journal by number of papers published. It covers primary research from any discipline within science and medicine. All submissions go through an internal and external pre-publication peer review, but are not excluded on the basis of lack of perceived importance or adherence to a scientific field. The PLOS ONE online platform employs a "publish first, judge later" methodology, with post-publication user discussion and rating features.[1]



The Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation awarded PLOS a $9 million grant in December 2002 and $1 million grant in May 2006 for its financial sustainability and launch of new free-access biomedical journals.[2][3] Later, PLOS ONE was launched in December 2006 as a beta version named PLoS ONE. 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.[4] In August 2008 it moved from a weekly publication schedule to a daily one, publishing articles as soon as they became ready.[5] 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—e.g., HTML page views, PDF, XML downloads—for every published article publicly available. In mid-2012, as part of a rebranding of PLoS as PLOS, the journal changed its name to PLOS ONE.[6]


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).[7] In 2011, the journal published 13,798 articles,[8] meaning that approximately 1 in 60 of all articles indexed by PubMed as being published in 2011 were published by PLOS ONE,[9] In 2012 PLOS ONE published 23,468 papers.[10] In 2013, PLOS ONE published 31,500 papers.[11]


The founding managing editor was Chris Surridge.[12] He was succeeded by Peter Binfield in March 2008, who was publisher until May 2012. The current executive editor is Damian Pattinson.[13]

Publication concept[edit]

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.[14]

According to Nature, the journal's aim is to "challenge academia's obsession with journal status and impact factors".[1] Being an online-only publication allows PLOS ONE to publish more papers than a print journal. In an effort to facilitate publication of research on topics outside, or between, traditional science categories, it does not restrict itself to a specific scientific area.[14]

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, version 2.5. In the first four years following launch, it made use of over 40,000 external peer reviewers.[16] The journal uses an international board of academic editors with over 6,000 academics handling submissions and publishes approximately 70 % of all submissions, after review by, on average, 2.9 experts.[17]

Business model[edit]

A welcome message from PLoS to Nature Publishing Group on the launch of Scientific Reports,[18] inspired by a similar message sent in 1981 by Apple to IBM upon the latter's entry into the personal computer market with its IBM Personal Computer.[19]

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 (i.e., open access) immediately after publication. As of July 2010, PLOS ONE charged authors US$1,350[20] to publish an article. Depending on circumstances, it may waive or reduce the fee for authors who do not have sufficient funds.[21] This model has drawn criticism, however. In 2011 Richard Poynder posited that journals such as PLoS ONE that charge authors for publication rather than charging users for access may produce a conflict of interest that reduces peer review standards (accept more articles, earn more revenue).[22] Stevan Harnad 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.[23] PLoS had been operating at a loss until 2009 but covered its operational costs for the first time in 2010,[24] largely due to the growth of PLOS ONE.


Main article: Mega journal

The "PLOS ONE model" has inspired a series other journals,[25][26][27] having broad scope, low selectivity, and a pay-to-publish model, usually published under Creative Commons licenses. Examples are Scientific Reports[28][29][30] and Open Biology.[31]

Community recognition and citation information[edit]

In September 2009, PLOS ONE received the Publishing Innovation Award of the Association for Learned and Professional Society Publishers.[32] 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.[33] Its 2013 impact factor was 3.534.[34] Additionally, the Scopus 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).[35]

Abstracting and indexing[edit]

The articles are indexed in:[15]


  1. ^ a b Giles, J. (2007). "Open-Access Journal Will Publish First, Judge Later". Nature 445 (7123): 9. doi:10.1038/445009a. PMID 17203032. 
  2. ^ "Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation". Retrieved December 17, 2002. 
  3. ^ "Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation". Retrieved May 2006. 
  4. ^ Zivkovic, Bora. "Trackbacks are here!". 
  5. ^ PLOS ONE Milestones, a timeline on Dipity
  6. ^ David Knutson (July 23, 2012). "New PLOS look". PLOS BLOG. Public Library of Science. Archived from the original on 6 August 2012. Retrieved 6 August 2012. 
  7. ^ Morrison, Heather (5 January 2011). "plos one now worlds largest journal". Poetic Economics Blog. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  8. ^ Taylor, Mike. "It’s Not Academic: How Publishers Are Squelching Science Communication." Discover Magazine. February 21, 2012. Retrieved on March 3, 2012.
  9. ^ Konkeil, Stacey (20 December 2011). "PLOS ONE: Five Years, Many Milestones". everyONE Blog. Retrieved 24 December 2011. 
  10. ^ Hoff, Krista (3 January 2013). "PLOS ONE Papers of 2012". everyONE Blog. Retrieved 21 May 2013. 
  11. ^
  12. ^ Poynder, Richard (15 June 2006). "Open Access: Stage Two". Open and Shut Blog. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  13. ^ Jerram, Peter (8 May 2012). "Publisher of PLOS ONE moves to new Open-Access initiative". The official PLOS Blog. Retrieved 22 June 2012. 
  14. ^ a b MacCallum, C. J. (2006). "ONE for All: The Next Step for PLOS". PLoS Biol. 4 (11): e401. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.0040401. PMC 1637059. PMID 17523266. 
  15. ^ a b PLOS ONE Journal Information. (2012-09-04). Retrieved on 2013-06-20.
  16. ^ "Thanking PLOS ONE Peer Reviewers". PLOS ONE. Dec 2010. Retrieved 16 January 2011. 
  17. ^ "PLOS ONE Editorial and Peer-Review Process". PLOS ONE. 2008. Retrieved 12 December 2013. 
  18. ^ Allen, Liz (January 19, 2011) "Welcome, Nature. Seriously", (WebCite)
  19. ^ Welcome message from Apple to IBM ([ WebCite])
  20. ^ "PLoS ONE Guidelines for Authors". PLoS ONE. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  21. ^ "Publication Fees". PLOS. Retrieved 1 January 2015. 
  22. ^ Poynder, Richard (7 March 2011). "PLOS ONE, Open Access, and the Future of Scholarly Publishing". Open and Shut Blog. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  23. ^ Harnad, Stevan (June–July 2011). "No-Fault Peer Review Charges: The Price of Selectivity Need Not Be Access Denied or Delayed". D-Lib Magazine. doi:10.1045/july2010-harnad. Retrieved 27 March 2011. 
  24. ^ Peter Jerram (July 20, 2011). "2010 PLoS Progress Update". Archived from the original on January 16, 2012. Retrieved January 16, 2012. 
  25. ^ Dagmar Sitek & Roland Bertelmann, "Open Access: A State of the Art", 2 March 2014, Springer, doi:10.1007/978-3-319-00026-8_9 [1] In: Sönke Bartling & Sascha Friesike (Editors), Opening Science: The Evolving Guide on How the Web is Changing Research, Collaboration and Scholarly Publishing, Springer, 2014, ISBN 978-3-319-00025-1, 339 pp. [2]
  26. ^ Rhodri Jackson and Martin Richardson, "Gold open access: the future of the academic journal?", Chapter 9 in Cope and Phillip (2014), p.223-248. The Future of the Academic Journal, 2nd ed., Chandos Publishing, Jul 1, 2014, 478 pages.
  27. ^ Bo-Christer Björk and David Solomon, "Developing an Effective Market for Open Access Article Processing Charges", March 2014, 69 pages. Final Report to a consortium of research funders comprising Jisc, Research Libraries UK, Research Councils UK, the Wellcome Trust, the Austrian Science Fund, the Luxembourg National Research Fund, and the Max Planck Institute for Gravitational Physics. [3]
  28. ^ "Nature's open-access offering may sound death knell for subs model". The Times Higher Education. 13 Jan 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  29. ^ Jonathan Eisen (7 Jan 2011). "Nature New PLOS One Like Journal "Scientific Reports"". The Tree of Life. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  30. ^ Martin Fenner (6 Jan 2011). "New journal "Nature ONE" launched today". Gobbledygook. Retrieved 23 January 2011. 
  31. ^ Press release by the Royal Society on the launch of the journal, October 17, 2011 (WebCite)
  32. ^ "ALPSP Awards 2010–finalists announced". ALPSP. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  33. ^ Patterson, Mark (5 January 2010). "PLOS ONE indexed by Web of Science". PLOS Blogs. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 
  34. ^ 2013 Journal Citation Reports Science Edition. Philadelphia, Thompson Reuters, 2014.
  35. ^ "Preview". Scopus. Retrieved 9 September 2010. 

External links[edit]