About PLOS Medicine

PLOS Medicine is the leading open-access medical journal, providing an influential venue for outstanding research and commentary on the major challenges to human health worldwide. We specifically seek to publish articles relevant to clinicians and policymakers across a range of settings that adhere to the highest standards of methodology, ethics and reporting and address the major biological, environmental, social, and political determinants of health.

All articles must be submitted first as presubmission inquiries. The median time from submission of a presubmission inquiry to a decision is 3 calendar days. PLOS Medicine is highly selective; for research articles, the number of accepted articles was 3% the number of presubmission inquiries for September 2011-2012. For manuscripts taken forward for in-depth consideration, PLOS Medicine applies rigorous editorial and peer review overseen by a team of professional editors and, in the case of research articles, an independent academic editor expert in the field.

PLOS Medicine is committed to upholding the highest ethical standards in medical publishing, including the management and disclosure of conflicts of interest in reporting, review, and publication; transparency in the review and publication process; data sharing and reuse of work; authors' retention of copyright; open-access publication with no restrictions on availability and dissemination; and avoiding the conflicts of interest presented by advertising for drugs and medical devices and exclusive sale of reprints.

Open Access

PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to all works we publish. Under the CC BY license, authors retain ownership of the copyright for their article, but authors allow anyone to download, reuse, reprint, modify, distribute, and/or copy articles in PLOS journals, so long as the original authors and source are cited. No permission is required from the authors or the publishers.

Publication Fees

To provide Open Access, PLOS uses a business model to offset expenses—including those of peer review management, journal production and online hosting and archiving—by charging a publication fee to the authors, institutions or funders for each article published.

Publication fees vary by journal and are payable for articles upon acceptance. PLOS has specific terms and publication charges for articles that are part of a Special Collection. To find out more visit our Special Collection Fees page.

PLOS believes that lack of funds should not be a barrier to Open Access publication. Since its inception, PLOS has provided individual fee support and institutional fee support programs. The current offering includes:

PLOS Global Participation Initiative (Low- and Middle-Income Country Assistance)

Authors' research which is funded primarily (50% or more of the work contained within the article) by an institution or organization from eligible low- and middle-income countries will receive partial (group 2 countries) or full (group 1 countries) fee funding paid by the PLOS Global Participation Initiative (GPI). Group 2 PLOS GPI country authors who need to request additional support should apply for PLOS Publication Fee Assistance instead of the PLOS GPI.

PLOS Publication Fee Assistance (PFA)

Publication Fee Assistance is intended for authors who demonstrate financial need. Information about an applicant's application status for fee assistance will not be disclosed to journal editors or reviewers. PLOS publication decisions will continue to be based solely on editorial criteria.

PLOS Institutional Fee Support Program

PLOS currently offers an institutional program to support Open Access scientific publishing. Participating institutions have arrangements with PLOS to administer payment for full publication fees for their institutions' authors. To be eligible, authors must be a corresponding author affiliated with the institution or agency in the Institutional Account Program (fully paid or restricted). (Special note to UK authors — certain institutions will restrict payment to cover for Wellcome Trust and RCUK research grant recipients only.) Authors who need to request additional support should apply for PLOS PFA.

Additional External Funds

Authors may also be eligible for direct funding from their institution or funder, which may be different from the PLOS Institutional program. See additional Open Access funds for examples. To confirm amounts and details of funding and eligibility, contact the organization as indicated.

About PLOS

PLOS is a non-profit organization of scientists and physicians committed to making the world's scientific and medical literature a freely available public resource. For more information about PLOS, visit

PLOS Medicine (eISSN 1549-1676 ISSN-1549-1277) is published weekly online by PLOS. The inaugural issue was published on 19 October 2004.

Further Reading


PLOS Medicine publishes articles relevant to clinicians, policymakers, and researchers across a range of settings that address the major biological, environmental, social, and political determinants of health. The editors make decisions on submissions based upon their potential to directly and substantially inform clinical practice or health policy, and their relevance to our international audience.

Articles given highest priority for publication are those that address conditions or risk factors that cause the greatest losses in years of healthy life and quality of life worldwide.

PLOS Medicine also seeks to publish articles in the area of translational medicine that provide substantial, novel mechanistic insights into disease processes, with potential implications for clinical care. Additionally PLOS Medicine considers articles on topics relating to the integrity and ethics of the research enterprise; the practice of medicine; and the application of research to practice to fall within its scope.

Measures of Impact

At PLOS, we believe that articles in all journals should be assessed on their own merits rather than on the basis of the journal in which they were published.  PLOS journals have therefore initiated a program to provide a growing set of measures and indicators of impact at the article level that will include citation metrics, usage statistics, blogosphere coverage, social bookmarks and expert assessment. The long-term vision is to bring the views and activities of entire communities to bear, using the wealth of opportunities offered online, to provide new, meaningful and efficient mechanisms for research assessment. For more information on article-level metrics see the PLOS blog.


  • Outstanding Research Articles in all areas of medicine and health, involving methodologies that may include clinical trials, systematic reviews/meta-analyses, epidemiology, diagnostic testing, predictive and explanatory modeling, cost-effectiveness research, qualitative studies, and clinically-focused translational research.
    • All research articles are accompanied by an Editors' Summary—a comprehensible summary for physicians in all specialties, as well as patients and their advocates.
  • Editorials are written by the PLOS Medicine editors on topics of general medical interest or journal policy.
  • Perspectives are commissioned from an expert to discuss the clinical practice or public health implications of a study.
  • The Health in Action section focuses on innovative health improvement projects, often written by groups or individuals who are not represented regularly in medical journals, such as health activists, non-governmental organizations, or researchers in low income settings.
  • The Policy Forum section provides a platform for health policymakers from around the world to discuss the challenges and opportunities in improving health care to their constituencies.
  • The Guidelines and Guidance section contains advice on conducting and reporting medical research.
  • Essays are opinion pieces on topics of broad interest to a general medical audience.
  • The PLOS Medicine Debate discusses important but controversial issues in clinical practice, public health policy, or health in general. Debates will be commissioned from two or more authors with differing points of view.

It is essential that authors submit a presubmission inquiry before submitting a full paper. To submit an inquiry, please log on or register at our online submission site and then click the link "Submit Presubmission Inquiry."


PLOS Medicine provides tools to facilitate community evaluation and discourse around published articles. See our guidelines explaining how you can add Comments to any PLOS Medicine article.