Submit Your Paper to PLOS Biology

We strongly recommend that you submit a presubmission inquiry, before submitting your full manuscript. The purpose of a presubmission inquiry is to solicit rapid feedback from the staff editors about the potential suitability of your manuscript for the journal. Presubmission inquiries should be submitted via our online submission system.

If you are ready to submit your full manuscript, please refer to our submission checklist below and use our online manuscript submission system.

When you submit your article to PLOS Biology, you will be asked to provide some information and accessory files, in addition to the manuscript itself. This checklist will ensure that you have gathered all the relevant information and that the manuscript is formatted appropriately.

Information Needed Prior to Submission

  • Have you read the license agreement and are you able to sign it on behalf of all the authors?
  • Have you identified potential reviewers whose e-mail addresses you can provide? Have you identified colleagues who may have a conflict of interest – e.g. because they are a close competitor or a collaborator?
  • Have you prepared a cover letter explaining why you consider this manuscript suitable for publication in PLOS Biology?
  • Are related manuscripts by any of the authors submitted or in press elsewhere? If so, are you prepared to provide PDFs?
  • Have you discussed the publication fees with your co-authors? Publication fees are US$2900 per manuscript and will be billed upon acceptance acceptance (read more about publication fees). The ability of authors to pay publication fees will never be a consideration in the decision whether to publish.
  • If you were invited to submit your paper to a PLOS Special Collection, have you reviewed the terms of submission and publication charges for PLOS Special Collections, and are you prepared to adhere to them?

Manuscript Requirements

  • Have all authors and their affiliations been included? Do you have a list of the contributions that each author has made to the project? Do you know of any conflicts of interest any of the authors may need to report?
  • Can you provide the full information for all authors – their full name including any middle initials used for publication, their institution and department?
  • Does your paper follow the organization guidelines outlined in the Guidelines for Authors?
  • Is your abstract divided into sections called Background, Methodology/Principal Findings, and Conclusions/Significance?
  • Have you included page numbers on all the sections of the article (figures exempted)?
  • Have you used double spacing (a blank line under each line of text) for all text in your manuscript?
  • Have non-standard abbreviations been listed as well as defined in the text?
  • Have you used standard nomenclature?
  • Have all appropriate datasets, images, and information been deposited in the relevant public resources and have the accession (and version) numbers been provided in the paper?
  • Have all genes, proteins, mutants, diseases, etc., used in the paper been identified by their accession number upon first use, if they appear in a public database?
  • If your manuscript is ready for publication, do your figures conform to the Guidelines for Figure Preparation?
  • Do you have datasets or raw data in a format that can be readily submitted as supplementary data?
  • Are any new or lesser-known protocols described in detail in a separate file that can be submitted as supplemental data?
  • Do you have any striking figures that might be suitable for consideration as cover images?
  • Do your references comply with the reference guidelines?
  • Do you have a related manuscript submitted or in press elsewhere? If so, please note that a copy must be uploaded with the PLOS submission.

File Size and Format Requirements

For initial submissions, manuscripts may be provided as a single .PDF file, containing text and figures, plus an additional file for supporting information. Individual publication quality files (as detailed below) will be required before formal acceptance.

  • Is the manuscript file in .DOC, .RTF or .PDF? (Note: At this time we cannot accept for review or revision any documents created in Microsoft Office 2007. Please see the Author Guidelines for more details).
  • Have your original figures been created as .EPS or .TIFF files in a high enough resolution to provide for adequate review?
  • Are all files smaller than 10 MB in size?

Author Summary

We ask authors submitting revised manuscripts to include a 150-200 word non-technical summary of the work as a separate file, uploaded as a Related Manuscript File, with the title "Author Summary". Subject to editorial review, this short text is published with all research articles as a highlighted text box.

Distinct from the scientific abstract, the author summary is included in the article to make findings accessible to an audience of both scientists and non-scientists. Ideally aimed to a level of understanding of an undergraduate student, the significance of the work should be presented simply, objectively, and without exaggeration.

Authors should avoid the use of acronyms and complex scientific terms and write the text using a first person voice. Authors may benefit from consulting with a science writer or press officer to ensure they effectively communicate their findings to a general audience. We encourage you to look at two examples of summaries currently online in PLOS Biology. These examples should help you determine the level we are aiming for:


In addition to the Author Summary, we require a brief statement ("blurb") about the work. The blurbs will be included in our weekly and monthly Electronic Table of Contents, sent out to users signed up to receive alerts from PLOS Biology. The blurb should be about 20 to 30 words long and is subject to editorial changes. It should, without exaggeration, entice people to read your manuscript. It should not be redundant with the title and should not contain acronyms or abbreviations. The following examples should help you determine the style we are looking for:

  • During embryonic development of the motor system of Drosophila, motorneurons target their dendrites to different regions along the body axis in response to midline guidance cues.
  • A neuroimaging study reveals novel insights into how the brain responds to an anticipated event, such as a starting gun or responding to a green light.
  • Computational modeling and experimentation in a model system for actin-based force generation explain how actin networks initiate and maintain directional movement.

For further examples, please view the blurbs accompanying the articles on the homepage of PLOS Biology.

Please submit your Blurb as a sentence or two, at the bottom of the document containing your Author Summary, under the heading "Blurb."