PLoS ONE News and Blog Round-Up

This month in PLoS ONE:  Internet addiction, the world’s smallest vertebrate, zombie bees and more!

Chinese researchers scanned the brains of 17 young individuals with clinical internet addiction disorder (IAD) and found that these web addicts had diminished brain volume in certain areas, most notably white matter.  These brain changes are similar to those hooked on other drugs such as heroin or alcohol. ABC News, BBC News, and Forbes covered this article.

At an average body size of 7.7 mm, one team of scientists working in New Guinea believes to have discovered the world’s smallest vertebrate.  These frogs, scientifically named, Paedophryne amauensis, live in the moist leaf litter on floors of tropical wet-forests, and two of them can fit comfortably on your thumbnail or a dimeThis article was covered by FOX News, CNN, and Scientific American.

“Zombie” bees in the San Francisco bay area have been leaving their hives, walking around in circles with no apparent sense of direction, and collapsing dead to the ground.  These symptoms imitate colony collapse disorder, (CCD) where honey bees inexplicably disappear from their colony.  For several years, the US honey bee population has been declining, and researchers from San Francisco State University found that a parasitic fly, Apocephalus borealis, may be responsible for CCD in Northern California.  The fly is a known parasite in bumble bees but the scientists used genetic analysis to confirm the parasite in the honey bees and bumble bees was the same species.  This article was covered by NPR, Nature, and USA TODAY. The image above is courtesy Christopher Quock and can be found in the manuscript.

A new study finds that men and women have very different personality traits using personality measurements from more than 10,000 people, approximately half men and half women.  The researchers of the article believe that the extent of sex differences in human personality have been underestimated because most previous researchers have focused on one trait at a time and because they failed to correct for measurement error.  MSNBC, Times of India, and FOX News covered this article.

Why do dung beetles dance?  Scientists reveal that dances are elicited when the dung beetles lose control of their ball or lose contact with it altogether.  However, for the most part, the beetles manage to roll their ball in a near perfect straight line using polarized light.  This article was covered by Scientific American, National Geographic, and Live Science.

For more in-depth coverage on news and blog articles about PLoS ONE papers, please visit our Media Tracking Project.

Ask everyONE: Post-acceptance queries

Frequently, authors will email our editorial team to ask what they need to do after their paper has been accepted by PLoS ONE, especially if they want to verify their figure quality or fix some minor typos before publication.  Here is the most common query that I come across:

Now that my paper has been accepted by PLoS ONE, what actions do I need to take going forwards, who should I contact if I have any questions, and how long until my paper will appear online?

Answer:

Congratulations on your acceptance with PLoS ONE!  Shortly after the Academic Editor sends the Accept decision letter through our Editorial Manager system, our production staff will initiate general quality checks.  You do not need to take any action at this point.  In fact, we would recommend holding off asking any questions regarding your paper until the ONE production team emails the corresponding author with further instructions on how to proceed.  This letter to the corresponding author is usually sent within a week, and it will specifically address whether there are any problems with the manuscript’s formatting or figure files and what steps you need to take going forwards towards publication.

In rare cases, a paper will not need further formatting changes. If you do not receive a letter a week after acceptance, and you have minor edits such as correcting typos, please send an email to ONE_Production@plos.org.

Commonly, authors are concerned about their figure files because they receive Artwork Quality warnings or failure messages.  Please realize that you do not need to pay any attention to these messages.  In general, the main requirements are as follows:

  1. Should be a .tif or .eps file
  2. The resolution should be between 300 and 600 dpi/ppi
  3. The file size should be under 10 MB. Try LZW compression if your figure is larger than 10 MB.
  4. The figure should be saved in RGB color mode.
  5. The print size should be between 83 mm and 173 mm wide.
  6. Each figure should have clearly legible lines and text.

After you have read the email sent by our production team to the corresponding author of your paper thoroughly, please feel free to email any further questions or concerns to ONE_Production@plos.org.  After acceptance, all inquiries should be sent to this address.

It is very important to note that PLoS ONE does not provide author proofs.  When the production team sends their requests letter to the corresponding author, you should use the opportunity to make sure everything in the manuscript is ready to publish including that all legends for figures match the images.  Again, this will be your last chance to see your files before publication.

On average, it takes about a month after a submission has been accepted through peer-review to be published online.  However, please realize that this time-frame varies greatly for each paper and it heavily relies on an author’s timely response.  To learn more about the timeline for your paper to be picked up by Pub Med Central and indexed by PubMed please read this post.

Again, congratulations on your acceptance, and remember to wait for our capable production team to send their requests letter before taking any action.  They will let you know if there are any technical problems with your paper including issues with formatting or figure quality.

Ask EveryONE: Publishing New Species Papers at PLoS ONE

For about a year now, I have been monitoring new species submissions for PLoS ONE and this question frequently comes up:

Does PLoS ONE formally publish new species papers that are recognized by the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) and the International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN)?

Absolutely! Every month, PLoS ONE publishes several new species papers that describe a variety of new animal, plant, and fungi taxons.  As many authors in the zoological and botanical communities know, the International Commission of Zoological Nomenclature (ICZN) and International Code of Botanical Nomenclature (ICBN) require new species articles to be published in a durable (i.e. paper) medium in addition to any electronic medium.

PLoS ONE has worked closely with the ICZN and ICBN to establish a protocol where new species papers published in our electronic only journal can be formally recognized by these two institutions.  You can read more about this process at http://iczn.org/sites/iczn.org/files/Almost%20E-only-PLoSInterimSolution.pdf or by visiting our author guidelines at http://www.plosone.org/static/guidelines.action.

If you are an author and are thinking about submitting a new species paper to PLoS ONE, please read our new species guidelines online before you submit.  However, please note that our process for managing new animal and plant species does not apply to bacteria, viruses, algae, or re-classifying species within existing taxonomy.  Authors will need to adhere to their institutions’ specific guidelines for these new species articles.