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.

How to Use PLoS’s Advanced Search Function

This post was written by Michael Morris. Michael is a Publications Assistant for PLoS Medicine with a Master of Library Science degree. His previous experience in the library field led to an interest in information literacy and instruction. The following piece was posted on Speaking of Medicine yesterday.

At PLoS, we’re dedicated to the tenet of Open Access, making academic literature widely available on the web. However, with an ever-growing pool of scientific literature, our goals have to consider not only making content available, but also accessible. With the breadth of articles we aggregate, you need a strong tool to find the specific information you want. Our authors have published on methods to get the most out of search engine queries and even how search engine data can yield its own important results. To help our users navigate the sea of information PLoS publishes daily, we introduced an Advanced Search function with a broad range of filters.

When searching for PLoS articles, the standard search bar at the top of the page will return all results where the term has been mentioned throughout the entire article (see Figure 1). While this is good for very specific searches, a search for a term like “influenza” will yield over 2,000 results across the PLoS journals. This is where the Advanced Search’s filtering system comes in handy.

Figure 1

Advanced Search

Advanced Search provides multiple filters for results by limiting what field you’re searching (Title, Abstract, Author Name, etc). Using the pull-down menu (Figure 2), you can search for your term in the Title or Abstract of the article, which makes it more likely that the article is focused on that subject. You can also search for specific authors, editors or author affiliations. This allows you to find papers published or edited by your colleagues or researchers at a specific institution.

You can make your search more targeted and powerful but using the search box to combine these different searches using the qualifiers AND, OR or NOT, limiting the search results further. For example, you can shorten the results by saying you want articles that mention “influenza” in the abstract, but NOT “vaccine.”

Figure 2

Advanced Filters

Below the search block is a series of filters that allows you to limit your results further: Journal, Subject Category and Article Type (Figure 3). This allows you to filter the search results down to specific PLoS journals, or a subject area you are studying (e.g., Genetics of Disease or Systems Biology) or down to a particular article type, like Research Articles or Editorials.

Figure 3

Sorting Results

After performing the search, you can sort the results using an additional drop-down menu, found at the top of the search results. “Relevance” is the default setting, but you can also sort by Most Viewed, which will yield the most popular article by page views meeting your search criteria, and Date—so you see the newest items that have published since the last time you performed your keyword search.

Related to the sorting types, each search result features links its Views, Citations and Bookmarks. Hovering over these links provides a breakdown of each statistic. Views will be broken down to the number of views in each format (HTML, XML and PDF) and Citations will break down by databases the citations are listed in (e.g., PubMed Central or Web of Science®) (Figure 4).

Figure 4

In addition to publishing the highest quality scientific research, PLoS is dedicated to making our content accessible to our audience. Our team is always working to find new ways to assist the readers of our journals, and we hope that our Advanced Search will get you the information that you seek.

Ask EveryONE: How to submit an appeal request

This post is by Nicholas Ellinwood, who has worked with PLoS ONE since last year. He is a Publications Assistant who focuses on assigning Academic Editors to appropriate manuscripts, managing email queries and handling our new species papers.

Can I formally appeal a final decision on my paper if I believe my paper satisfies all of PLoS ONE’s acceptance criteria?

Although PLoS ONE does not approve all appeal requests, if you feel that your paper was Rejected due to considerations outside of PLoS ONE’s acceptance criteria, then you can submit a formal appeal request to the PLoS ONE staff by emailing plosone@plos.org and including a point-by-point response to all of the reviewers comments and a detailed rebuttal letter explaining why you think your paper is publishable.

Our internal editors thoroughly review all rebuttal letters, and we do grant appeal requests if we think your paper would benefit from a re-review.

The peer-review process for an appeal is typically much longer than a normal submission because of the complexity of the manuscript’s history.  Also, we require two Academic Editors to evaluate all appeals and to jointly co-sign the decision letters.

PLoS ONE closely monitors the appeals that it accepts, and will mediate between a disagreement between the two Academic Editors assigned to the resubmission if necessary.

Before you submit an appeal request, remember that PLoS ONE requires all research articles to fulfill the following acceptance criteria:

1. The study presents the results of primary scientific research.

2. Results reported have not been published elsewhere.

3. Experiments, statistics, and other analyses are performed to a high technical standard and are described in sufficient detail.

4. Conclusions are presented in an appropriate fashion and are supported by the data.

5. The article is presented in an intelligible fashion and is written in standard English.

6. The research meets all applicable standards for the ethics of experimentation and research integrity.

7. The article adheres to appropriate reporting guidelines and community standards for data availability.