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PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases Guidelines for Authors

Detailed below are guidelines for authors about the journal, open access, the editorial process, and the production process. We also provide a checklist for submitting manuscripts for the first time, a checklist for submitting revised manuscripts, and detailed guidelines for figure and table preparation. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases also offers several means of support to authors in developing countries.

Contents:

  1. About PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases
  2. Open Access
  3. Publication Fees
  4. Criteria for Publication
  5. Presubmission Inquiries
  6. Overview of Editorial Process
  7. Supporting Information and Materials Required at Submission
  8. Preparation of Research Manuscripts
  9. Submission of Research Manuscripts
  10. Other Types of Articles
  11. Overview of the Production Process
  12. Embargoes and the Media

1. About PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases is an open-access journal devoted to the pathobiology, epidemiology, prevention, treatment, and control of the neglected tropical diseases (NTDs), as well as public policy relevant to this group of diseases. The NTDs are defined as a group of poverty-promoting chronic infectious diseases, which primarily occur in rural areas and poor urban areas of low-income and middle-income countries. They are poverty-promoting because of their impact on child health and development, pregnancy, and worker productivity, as well as their stigmatizing features. The major NTDs that are within the scope of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases can be found in the description of the journal's scope.

Original Research Papers

All aspects of the NTDs will be considered, including their pathogenesis, clinical features, pharmacology and treatment, diagnosis, epidemiology, vector biology, and vaccinology and prevention. Demographic, ecological and social determinants, public health, and policy aspects of these diseases (including cost-effectiveness analyses) will also be a priority. PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases is pleased to publish relevant in vitro and animal studies as well as human investigations. The journal is organized to provide additional support for authors from endemic countries, and such authors are particularly encouraged to submit their research to PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Academic editors, supported by expert peer-reviewers, will select for publication those studies that drive their respective fields forward. We encourage papers that cross disciplines. If your study addresses an infection that is outside our detailed scope, you must first send a pre-submission inquiry indicating why you consider the infection to be a neglected tropical disease.

Magazine Section

In addition to publishing original research papers, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases will have an engaging magazine section with dedicated editors. Articles in the magazine section will mostly be commissioned, but we welcome your ideas for articles. If you would like to write a magazine-section article, please send a brief article proposal (up to 150 words) to plosntds [at] plos.org.

2. 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.

3. 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 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 Programs

PLOS currently offers two institutional programs to support Open Access scientific publishing. Participating institutions have arrangements with PLOS to administer payment for partial or 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) or Institutional Membership Program (10% publication fee discount). Authors who are eligible for Institutional Membership Program discounts and need to request additional support should apply for PLOS PFA instead of the Institutional Membership Program.

Additional External Funds

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

4. Criteria for Publication

Manuscripts should represent a substantial advance in medical science or medical practice in terms of:

  • Originality
  • Importance and relevance to researchers, practitioners, or policy makers in the field of NTDs
  • Interest for researchers or practitioners outside the field
  • Rigorous methodology with conclusions justified by the evidence presented
  • Adherence to the highest ethical standards

5. Presubmission Inquiries

We strongly encourage authors to send a presubmission inquiry before making a full submission. To see if a manuscript is appropriate for full submission, please login or register at http://www.editorialmanager.com/pntd, click the link labeled, "Submit New Manuscript" and select Presubmission Inquiry as your article type. You will be asked for a cover letter explaining why you feel that the work is appropriate for PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases, along with a referenced abstract of the paper (fewer than 500 words) that describes the background, aims and methodology, key results, and major conclusions of the work. We aim to provide responses to these inquiries within 48 hours. Authors who receive an invitation to submit their manuscripts will then enter the regular editorial process.

6. Overview of Editorial Process

Our aim is to provide all authors with an efficient, courteous, and constructive editorial process. To ensure the fairest and most objective decision-making, the editorial process is run as a partnership between the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases Editors-in-Chief, the board of Deputy Editors, and a team of academic experts who act as Associate Editors (AEs). These individuals, all of whom are members of the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases Editorial Board, are leaders in their fields and represent the full breadth of research on NTDs.

Submitted manuscripts are assigned to a Deputy Editor, who then assigns it to an appropriate AE. The AE promptly evaluates the paper and decides whether it is likely to meet the requirements of providing enough of an advance in a particular field and describing a sufficient body of work to support that claim. If so, the paper is sent out for peer review.

Expert reviewers will be asked to assess the technical and scientific merits of the work. Where relevant, work presented in a manuscript will be subject to a rigorous review of the statistical methods used. As a default, reviewer's names are not included along with their comments to authors, but PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases does encourage open (non-anonymous) peer-review.

Upon submission of a manuscript, authors are asked if they wish to exclude any specific academic editors or reviewers from the peer review of their article. The editorial team will respect these requests so long as this does not interfere with the objective and thorough assessment of the article. See the relevant guidelines for reviewers and more general information on PLOS' policy regarding competing interests.

Once all reviews have been received and considered by the professional and academic editors, a decision letter to the author will be drafted.

There are several types of decision possible:

Revised manuscripts will be assessed by the same academic editor. Sometimes, re-review or additional statistical review will be required, but in general we aim to make decisions without involving multiple rounds of review.

Upon acceptance, the manuscript is checked by PLOS staff to ensure that it is in a format that can be efficiently handled by our production system. The authors will be queried and allowed to make any final minor revisions that are needed.

This is the final stage at which authors will see their manuscript before publication. The authors' files will be carefully tagged to generate XML and PDF files, but will not be subject to detailed copyediting (see Overview of the Production Process). It is therefore essential that authors provide a thoroughly proofread and checked manuscript, following the manuscript checklist and any comments from PLOS staff.

Appeals of Decisions

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases encourages input from the community regarding editorial and publishing policies. However, appeals against manuscript decisions must be a) limited to the specific manuscript in question, b) made only by the corresponding author, and c) sent by e-mail to plosntds [at] plos.org. Telephone calls or other informal appeals are discouraged and will not be considered. Appeals will only be considered when a reviewer or editor is thought to have made a significant factual error or when his/her objectivity is compromised by a documented competing interest, and when a reversal based on either of these grounds would change the original decision. The journal staff will ask for confirmation of the reason(s) in the first instance. If the authors proceed, the original editor(s) will usually be asked to consider the appeal. Additional editorial board members may also be consulted. Each appeal is treated on its merits, and the journal cannot make any guarantees about the turnaround time or outcome.

7. Supporting Information and Materials Required at Submission

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases is committed to the highest ethical standards in medical research. Accordingly, we ask authors to provide specific information regarding ethical treatment of research participants, patient consent, patient privacy, protocols, authorship, and competing interests. We also ask that reports of certain specific types of studies adhere to generally accepted standards. Our requirements are based on the Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, issued by the International Committee for Medical Journal Editors and are enumerated below. See the Supporting Information Guidelines for more details about our requirements for supporting information and multimedia files.

Human and Animal Research

All research involving humans and animals must have been approved by the authors' institutional review board or equivalent committee(s), and that board must be named by the authors in the manuscript. For research involving human participants, informed consent must have been obtained (or the reason for lack of consent explained, e.g. the data were analyzed anonymously) and all clinical investigation must have been conducted according to the principles expressed in the Declaration of Helsinki. It must be stated in the Methods section of the paper whether informed consent was written or oral. If informed consent was oral, it must be stated in the paper: (a) why written consent could not be obtained, (b) that the IRB approved the use of oral consent, and (c) how oral consent was documented.

Authors should be able to submit, upon request, a statement from the research ethics committee or institutional review board indicating approval of the research. We also encourage authors to submit a sample of a patient consent form, and may require submission on particular occasions.

All animal work must have been conducted according to relevant national and international guidelines. In accordance with the recommendations of the Weatherall report, "The use of non-human primates in research" we specifically require authors to include details of animal welfare and steps taken to ameliorate suffering in all work involving non-human primates. The institution that approved the study must be named, and it must be stated in the paper that the study was conducted adhering to the institution's guidelines for animal husbandry.

Patient Privacy and Informed Consent for Publication

Our human participant policy conforms to the Uniform Requirements of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors:

"Patients have a right to privacy that should not be infringed without informed consent. Identifying information should not be published in written descriptions, photographs, and pedigrees unless the information is essential for scientific purposes and the patient (or parent or guardian) gives written informed consent for publication. Informed consent for this purpose requires that the patient be shown the manuscript to be published.

Complete anonymity is difficult to achieve, and informed consent for publication should be obtained if there is any doubt. If data are changed to protect anonymity, authors should provide assurance that alterations of the data do not distort scientific meaning.

When informed consent has been obtained it should be indicated in the published article."

For papers that include identifying information, or potentially identifying information, authors must download the Consent Form for Publication in a PLOS Journal from our site, which the patient, parent or guardian must sign once they have read the paper and been informed about the terms of PLOS open-access license. (This license means that the images and text we publish online become available for any lawful purpose). Once authors have obtained the signed consent form, it should be filed securely in the patient's case notes and the article submitted to PLOS journal should include this statement indicating that specific consent to publication was obtained. "The patients in this manuscript have given written informed consent (as outlined in PLOS consent form) to publication of their case details."

Download "Consent Form for Publication":

Material Required for the Submission of Specific Study Types

a. Clinical Trials

We follow the WHO definition of a clinical trial. "A clinical trial is any research study that prospectively assigns human participants or groups of humans to one or more health-related interventions to evaluate the effects on health outcomes. Interventions include but are not restricted to drugs, cells and other biological products, surgical procedures, radiologic procedures, devices, behavioural treatments, process-of-care changes, preventive care, etc"

PLOS supports the position of the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) on trial registration. All trials initiated after 1 July 2005 must be registered prospectively in a publicly accessible registry (i.e., before patient recruitment has begun), or they will not be considered for publication. For trials initiated before 1 July 2005, all trials must be registered before submission to our journals. See the ICMJE faq on trial registration for further details. The WHO's list of approved registries is listed here http://www.who.int/ictrp/network/primary/en/index.html.

Authors of trials must adhere to the CONSORT reporting guidelines appropriate to their trial design. Please check the CONSORT statement Web site for information on the appropriate guidelines for specific trial types. Before the paper can enter peer review authors must: 1) name in the paper trial registry, trial registration number, and IRB and 2) provide a copy of the trial protocol and a completed CONSORT checklist as supporting files (these documents will also be published alongside the paper, if accepted). The CONSORT flow diagram must be included as Figure 1. Any deviation from the trial protocol must be explained in the paper. Authors must explicitly discuss informed consent in their paper, and PLOS reserves the right to ask for a copy of the patient consent form. Information on statistical methods or participants beyond what is indicated in the CONSORT statement should be reported in the Methods section.

b. Systematic Reviews and Meta-Analyses

Reports of systematic reviews and meta-analyses should use the PRISMA statement as a guide, and include a completed PRISMA checklist and flow diagram to accompany the main text. Blank templates of the checklist and flow diagram can be downloaded from the PRISMA Web site.

c. Diagnostic Studies

Reports of studies of diagnostic accuracy should conform to the STARD requirements.

d. Epidemiological Studies

For reports of epidemiological studies, you should consult the STROBE initiative.

e. Microarray Experiments

Reports of microarray experiments should conform to the MIAME guidelines, and the data from the experiments must be deposited in a publicly accessible database.

Author Status

All authors will be contacted via e-mail at submission to ensure that they are aware of and approve the submission of the manuscript, its content, authorship, and order of authorship. Articles will not be published unless all authors have provided their assent to publication.

The involvement of any professional medical writer in publication must be declared. We encourage authors to consult the European Medical Writers' Association Guidelines on the role of medical writers. For all PLOS journals, the corresponding author must submit the manuscript, related files, and all required data and information. From the point of submission through to publication, all communication related to that manuscript will be directed to and received from the corresponding author only.

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases bases its criteria for authorship on those outlined in the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors (ICMJE) Uniform Requirements for Manuscripts Submitted to Biomedical Journals, which are excerpted below. The contributions of all authors must be described. Contributions that fall short of authorship should be mentioned in the Acknowledgments section of the paper.

  • Authorship credit should be based on 1) substantial contributions to conception and design, acquisition of data, or analysis and interpretation of data; 2) drafting the article or revising it critically for important intellectual content; 3) final approval of the version to be published; and 4) agreement to be accountable for all aspects of the work in ensuring that questions related to the accuracy or integrity of any part of the work are appropriately investigated and resolved. Authors should meet conditions 1, 2, 3, and 4.
  • When a large, multicenter group has conducted the work, the group should identify the individuals who accept direct responsibility for the manuscript. These individuals should fully meet the criteria for authorship/contributorship defined above, and editors will ask these individuals to complete journal-specific author and conflict-of-interest disclosure forms. When submitting a manuscript authored by a group, the corresponding author should clearly indicate the preferred citation and identify all individual authors as well as the group name. Journals generally list other members of the group in the Acknowledgments. The NLM indexes the group name and the names of individuals the group has identified as being directly responsible for the manuscript; it also lists the names of collaborators if they are listed in Acknowledgments.
  • Acquisition of funding, collection of data, or general supervision of the research group alone does not constitute authorship.
  • All persons designated as authors should qualify for authorship, and all those who qualify should be listed.
  • Each author should have participated sufficiently in the work to take public responsibility for appropriate portions of the content.

PLOS journals follow the COPE guidelines covering changes in authorship. Please note that if any changes to the list of authors of a manuscript are necessary after the initial submission of a manuscript to a PLOS journal but before its publication, the corresponding author may be asked to provide written confirmation that all authors consent to the change(s). The journal also reserves the right to request written confirmation from all authors (including those added, removed, or moved in the author order). Such written consent may be required before the revised submission is sent to the editors.

Prior Publication

When submitting an article, all authors are asked to indicate that they have not submitted a similar manuscript for publication elsewhere. If related work has been submitted elsewhere, then a copy must be included with the article submitted to PLOS. Reviewers will be asked to comment on the overlap between related submissions.

8. Preparation of Research Articles

PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases publishes original research articles of importance to the NTDs community and the wider health community. We will consider manuscripts of any length; we encourage the submission of both substantial full-length bodies of work and shorter manuscripts that report novel findings that might be based on a more limited range of experiments.

The writing style should be concise and accessible, avoiding jargon so that the paper is understandable for readers outside a specialty or those whose first language is not English. Editors will make suggestions for how to achieve this, as well as suggestions for cuts or additions that could be made to the article to strengthen the argument. Our aim is to make the editorial process rigorous and consistent, but not intrusive or overbearing. Authors are encouraged to use their own voice and to decide how best to present their ideas, results, and conclusions. Although we encourage submissions from around the globe, we require that manuscripts be submitted in English. Authors who do not use English as a first language may contact us for additional information. As a step towards overcoming language barriers on acceptance of the paper, we encourage authors fluent in other languages to provide copies of their full articles or abstracts in other languages. We will publish these translations as supporting information and list them, together with other supporting information files, at the end of the article text.

Cover Letter

Please include a cover letter explaining why this manuscript is suitable for publication in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. Why will your research paper inspire the NTDs community, and how will it drive the understanding of NTD pathobiology, epidemiology, prevention, treatment, control, or policy?

If your study addresses an infection that is outside our detailed scope, you must first send a pre-submission inquiry indicating why you consider the infection to be a neglected tropical disease.

Electronic Formats

Our submission system supports a limited range of formats for text and graphics. The following file formats/types and manuscript information are required before submission. If you are concerned about the suitability of your files, please contact us at plosntds [at] plos.org.

Manuscript Files

Articles can be submitted for review in DOC, DOCX, RTF, or PDF. Any articles that have been prepared in LaTeX will be accepted for review, but only in PDF format.

Microsoft Word Submissions with Equations

If your manuscript is or will be in Microsoft Word and contains equations, you must follow the instructions below to make sure that your equations are editable when the file enters production.

  1. Format display equations only in MathType (http://www.dessci.com/en/products/mathtype/).
  2. Do not use Equations tools or Symbol font for any equation formatting. If your inline equations require special formatting, use MathType.
  3. Do not use Graphic Objects.

If you have already composed your article in Microsoft Word and used its built-in equation editing tool, your equations will become unusable during the typesetting process. To resolve this problem, re-key your equations using MathType.

If you do not follow these instructions, PLOS will not be able to accept your file.

LaTeX

Articles prepared in LaTeX may be submitted in PDF format for use during the review process. After acceptance, however, .tex files will be required. Please consult our LaTeX Guidelines for a list of what will be required.

Tables

Tables must conform to our Guidelines for Figure and Table Preparation and placed at the end of the article file.

Figure Files

Graphics files can only be submitted in EPS or TIF format. For the article to be accepted for publication, the author will need to supply high-resolution versions of the figures. When preparing your figures, please ensure that the files conform to our Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

If you are uploading your files in EPS format, please use the "create outlines" option under the type menu in Illustrator so that all text and fonts appear as intended in print. If you need additional help with figure preparation, please contact figures [at] plos.org.

Authors are encouraged to provide a striking image to accompany their article, if one is available. This image may be chosen to highlight the article on our journal Web site.

PLOS does not accept vector EPS figures generated using LaTeX. We only accept LaTeX generated figures in TIFF format. Export your LaTeX files as PDFs, and then open them in GIMP or Photoshop and save as TIFF. In general, Figures must be generated in a standalone graphics application such as Adobe Illustrator, InkScape, PyMol, MatLab, SAS, etc. Please see our Figure Guidelines for more information.

PLOS applies the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license to all figures we publish, which allows them to be freely used, distributed, and built upon as long as proper attribution is given. Please do not submit any figures that have been previously copyrighted unless you have express written permission from the copyright holder to publish under the CC BY license.

Financial Disclosure

This section should describe sources of funding that have supported the work. Please include relevant grant numbers and the URL of any funder's Web site. Please also include this sentence: "The funders had no role in study design, data collection and analysis, decision to publish, or preparation of the manuscript." If this statement is not correct, you must describe the role of any sponsors or funders, and amend the aforementioned sentence as needed.

Competing Interests

The submitting author is asked at submission to declare, on behalf of all authors, whether there are any financial, personal, or professional interests that could be construed to have influenced the paper. The information entered here will appear in the published version, so please do not include the same in the manuscript file.

Reviewers are also asked to declare any interests that might interfere with their objective assessment of a manuscript. Any relevant competing interests of authors must be available to editors and reviewers during the review process and will be stated in published articles. Read more about PLOS's Competing Interests Policy.

Abbreviations

Please keep abbreviations to a minimum and define them upon first use in the text. Non-standard abbreviations should not be used unless they appear at least three times in the text.

Nomenclature

The use of standardized nomenclature in all fields of science and medicine is an essential step toward the integration and linking of scientific information reported in published literature. We will enforce the use of correct and established nomenclature wherever possible:

  • We strongly encourage the use of SI units. If you do not use these exclusively, please provide the SI value in parentheses after each value.
  • Species names should be italicized (e.g., Homo sapiens) and the full genus and species must be written out in full, both in the title of the manuscript and at the first mention of an organism in a paper; after that, the first letter of the genus name, followed by the full species name may be used.
  • Genes, mutations, genotypes, and alleles should be indicated in italics. Use the recommended name by consulting the appropriate genetic nomenclature database, e.g., HUGO for human genes. It is sometimes advisable to indicate the synonyms for the gene the first time it appears in the text. Gene prefixes such as those used for oncogenes or cellular localization should be shown in roman: v-fes, c-MYC, etc.
  • The Recommended International Non-Proprietary Name (rINN) of drugs should be provided.

Accession Numbers

All appropriate datasets, images, and information should be deposited in public resources. Please provide the relevant accession numbers (and version numbers, if appropriate). Accession numbers should be provided in parentheses after the entity on first use. Suggested databases include, but are not limited to:

In addition, as much as possible, please provide accession numbers or identifiers for all entities such as genes, proteins, mutants, diseases, etc., for which there is an entry in a public database, for example:

Providing accession numbers allows linking to and from established databases and integrates your article with a broader collection of scientific information.

Organization of the Manuscript

Most articles published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases are organized into the following sections: Title, Authors and Affiliations, Abstract, Author Summary, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgments, References, Figure Legends, Supporting Information Captions, and Tables. Uniformity in format facilitates the experience of readers and users of the journal. To provide flexibility, however, the Results and Discussion can be combined into one Results/Discussion section. All manuscripts must contain line numbers. Although we have no firm length restrictions for the entire manuscript, we urge authors to present and discuss their findings concisely.

Title (150 characters)

The title should be specific to the study yet concise, and should allow sensitive and specific electronic retrieval of the article. It should be comprehensible to readers outside your field. Avoid specialist abbreviations if possible. Titles should be presented in title case, meaning that all words except for prepositions, articles, and conjunctions should be capitalized. If the paper is a randomized controlled trial or a meta-analysis, this description should be in the title.

Examples:

  • Climate Change and Spread of Lymphatic Filariasis in Sub-Saharan Africa
  • A Cluster-Randomized Controlled Trial of a Nurse-Led Deworming Program for Soil-Transmitted Helminths

Please also provide a brief Short Title of no more than 50 characters (including spaces).

Authors and Affiliations

Provide the first names or initials (if used), middle names or initials (if used), surnames, and affiliations—department, university or organization, city, state/province (if applicable), and country—for all authors. One of the authors should be designated as the corresponding author. It is the corresponding author's responsibility to ensure that the author list, and the summary of the author contributions to the study are accurate and complete. If the article has been submitted on behalf of a consortium, all consortium members and affiliations should be listed after the Acknowledgments.

(For authorship criteria, see Supporting Information and Materials Required at Submission)

Abstract

The abstract succinctly introduces the paper. We advise that it should not exceed 250 – 300 words. It should mention the techniques used without going into methodological detail and summarize the most important results with important numerical results given. The abstract is conceptually divided into the following three sections with these headings: Background, Methodology/Principal Findings, and Conclusions/Significance. Please do not include any citations in the abstract. Avoid specialist abbreviations.

Author Summary

We ask that all authors of research articles include a 150- to 200-word non-technical summary of the work, immediately following the Abstract. Subject to editorial review and author revision, this short text is published with all research articles as a highlighted text box.

Distinct from the scientific abstract, the author summary should highlight where the work fits in a broader context of life science knowledge and why these findings are important to an audience that includes 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 author summary using the first-person voice. Authors may benefit from consulting with a science writer or press officer to ensure that they effectively communicate their findings to a general audience.

Examples are available at:

Pseudogenization of a Sweet-Receptor Gene Accounts for Cats' Indifference toward Sugar

A Hybrid Photoreceptor Expressing Both Rod and Cone Genes in a Mouse Model of Enhanced S-Cone Syndrome

Life in Hot Carbon Monoxide: The Complete Genome Sequence of Carboxydothermus hydrogenoformans Z-2901

Introduction

The introduction should discuss the purpose of the study in the broader context. As you compose the introduction, think of readers who are not experts in this field. Include a brief review of the key literature. If there are relevant controversies or disagreements in the field, they should be mentioned so that a non-expert reader can delve into these issues further. The introduction should conclude with a brief statement of the overall aim of the experiments and a comment about whether that aim was achieved.

Methods

This section should provide enough detail for reproduction of the findings. Protocols for new methods should be included, but well-established protocols may simply be referenced. Detailed methodology or supporting information relevant to the methodology can be published on our Web site.

This section should also include a section with descriptions of any statistical methods employed. These should conform to the criteria outlined by the Uniform Requirements, as follows: "Describe statistical methods with enough detail to enable a knowledgeable reader with access to the original data to verify the reported results. When possible, quantify findings and present them with appropriate indicators of measurement error or uncertainty (such as confidence intervals). Avoid relying solely on statistical hypothesis testing, such as the use of P values, which fails to convey important quantitative information. Discuss the eligibility of research participants. Give details about randomization. Describe the methods for and success of any blinding of observations. Report complications of treatment. Give numbers of observations. Report losses to observation (such as dropouts from a clinical trial). References for the design of the study and statistical methods should be to standard works when possible (with pages stated) rather than to papers in which the designs or methods were originally reported. Specify any general-use computer programs used."

Results

The results section should include all relevant positive and negative findings. The section may be divided into subsections, each with a concise subheading. Large datasets, including raw data, should be submitted as supporting files; these are published online alongside the accepted article. The results section should be written in past tense.

As outlined in the Uniform requirements, authors that present statistical data in the Results section, should "...specify the statistical methods used to analyze them. Restrict tables and figures to those needed to explain the argument of the paper and to assess its support. Use graphs as an alternative to tables with many entries; do not duplicate data in graphs and tables. Avoid nontechnical uses of technical terms in statistics, such as "random" (which implies a randomizing device), "normal," "significant," "correlations," and "sample." Define statistical terms, abbreviations, and most symbols."

Discussion

The discussion should be concise and tightly argued. It should start with a brief summary of the main findings. It should include paragraphs on the generalisability, clinical relevance, strengths, and, most importantly, the limitations of your study. You may wish to discuss the following points also. How do the conclusions affect the existing knowledge in the field? How can future research build on these observations? What are the key experiments that must be done?

Acknowledgments

People who contributed to the work, but do not fit the criteria for authors should be listed in the Acknowledgments, along with their contributions. You must also ensure that anyone named in the acknowledgments agrees to being so named.

Details of the funding sources that have supported the work should be confined to the funding statement provided in the online submission system. Do not include them in the acknowledgments.

References

Only published or accepted manuscripts should be included in the reference list. Papers that have been submitted but not yet accepted should not be cited. Limited citation of unpublished work should be included in the body of the text only as “unpublished data.” All “personal communications” citations should be supported by a letter from the relevant authors.

Style information:

  • PLOS uses the numbered citation (citation-sequence) method and first five authors, et al.
  • References are listed and numbered in the order that they appear in the text.
  • In the text, citations should be indicated by the reference number in brackets.
  • The parts of the manuscript should be in the correct order before ordering the citations: body, boxes, figure captions, tables, and supporting information captions.
  • Abstracts and author summaries may not contain citations.
  • Journal name abbreviations should be those found in the NCBI databases: http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/nlmcatalog/journals.

Because all references will be linked electronically as much as possible to the papers they cite, proper formatting of the references is crucial. For convenience, a number of reference software companies supply PLOS style files (e.g., Reference Manager, EndNote).

Published Papers
1. Hou WR, Hou YL, Wu GF, Song Y, Su XL, et al. (2011) cDNA, genomic sequence cloning and overexpression of ribosomal protein gene L9 (rpL9) of the giant panda (Ailuropoda melanoleuca). Genet Mol Res 10: 1576-1588.

Note: Use of a DOI number for the full-text article is acceptable as an alternative to or in addition to traditional volume and page numbers.

Accepted, unpublished papers
Same as above, but “In press” appears instead of the page numbers.

Electronic Journal Articles
1. Huynen MMTE, Martens P, Hilderlink HBM (2005) The health impacts of globalisation: a conceptual framework. Global Health 1: 14. Available: http://www.globalizationandhealth.com/content/1/1/14. Accessed 25 January 2012.

Books
1. Bates B (1992) Bargaining for life: A social history of tuberculosis. Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press. 435 p.

Book Chapters
1. Hansen B (1991) New York City epidemics and history for the public. In: Harden VA, Risse GB, editors. AIDS and the historian. Bethesda: National Institutes of Health. pp. 21-28.

Figure Legends

The aim of the figure legend should be to describe the key messages of the figure, but the figure should also be discussed in the text. An enlarged version of the figure and its full legend will often be viewed in a separate window online, and it should be possible for a reader to understand the figure without switching back and forth between this window and the relevant parts of the text. Each legend should have a concise title of no more than 15 words that can stand alone, without the use of figure part labels. The overall legend itself should be succinct, while still explaining all figure parts, symbols, and abbreviations. Avoid lengthy descriptions of methods.

Supporting Information Captions

Because Supporting Information is accessed via a hyperlink attached to its captions, captions must be listed in the article file. Do not submit a separate caption file. It is acceptable to have them in the file itself in addition, but they must be in the article file for access to be possible in the published version.

The file category name and number is required, and a one-line title is highly recommended. A legend can also be included but is not required. Supporting Information captions should be formatted as follows.

   Text S1. Title is strongly recommended. Legend is optional.

Please see our Supporting Information guidelines for more details.

Tables

All tables should have a concise title. Footnotes can be used to explain abbreviations. Citations should be indicated using the same style as outlined above. Tables should not occupy more than one printed page; larger tables can be published as online supporting information. Tables must be cell-based; do not use picture elements, text boxes, tabs, or returns in tables. Please ensure that the files conform to our Guidelines for Figure and Table Preparation when preparing your tables for production.

Tables should be placed at the end of the manuscript file, rather than uploaded separately into the submission system.

Multimedia Files and Supporting Information

We encourage authors to submit essential supporting files and multimedia files along with their manuscripts. All supporting material will be subject to peer review, and should be smaller than 10 MB in size because of the difficulties that some users will experience in loading or downloading files of a greater size.

Supporting files should fall into one of the following categories: Dataset, Figure, Table, Text, Protocol, Audio, or Video. All supporting information should be referred to in the manuscript with a leading capital S (e.g., Figure S4 for the fourth supporting information figure). The numbered title and caption for each supporting information file should be included in the main article file, after the titles and captions for the main figures.

Supporting files may be submitted in a variety of formats, but should be publication-ready, as these files are not copyedited. Carefully consider whether your supporting information needs to be searchable and/or editable, and choose the most suitable format accordingly. See the Supporting Information Guidelines for more details about our requirements for supporting information and multimedia files.

9. Submission of Research Manuscripts

Are You Ready to Submit Your Manuscript?

We have provided an author checklist to help you prepare your materials for submission and to make the online submission process as straightforward as possible. Please take the time to look through the list before submitting your article.

If you are submitting a revised manuscript, you will have been given substantial guidance by the editors. We have provided a checklist for revised manuscripts.

Electronic Submission

Detailed instructions for submission can be found on the PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases Manuscript Submission and Peer Review Web site. Files are uploaded individually and are combined into a single PDF file, which must be approved by the author at the end of the submission process.

Articles can be submitted for review in DOC, DOCX, RTF, or PDF. Any articles that have been prepared in LaTeX will be accepted for review, but only in PDF format.

Graphics files can only be submitted in EPS or TIF format. If possible, please label all figures with a standard font such as Arial or Times New Roman. Please read the Guidelines for Figure Preparation before submitting figures.

10. Other Types of Articles

Articles for the Magazine Section

In addition to publishing original research papers, PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases will have an engaging magazine section with dedicated editors. Articles in the magazine section will mostly be commissioned, but we welcome your ideas for articles. If you would like to write a magazine-section article, please submit a presubmission inquiry or a full submission. If you wish to submit a full submission, please note that you must submit your manuscript as a "Research Article" - please kindly make a note in the "Comments" box of your submission form and we will change the article categorization for you.

Word counts for magazine-section articles are given in the descriptions below. Very long documents can be hosted as supplementary files (Supporting Information) with the magazine-section articles.

Editorial

These 600- to 800-word articles are written in-house by the Editor-in-Chief or a member of the Editorial Board.

Viewpoints

Viewpoints are opinion pieces grounded in evidence. The word limit is 1,500 words. Authors are encouraged to cite up to 15 references in support of their key assertions, and to use a logical structure for their piece. We encourage all authors to include a display item (a figure, photo, or illustration), which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

Debate

The Debate highlights topical, emerging, or controversial issues in the NTDs field, such as controversies about the best treatment or prevention approach. Debates will be commissioned from two or more authors with differing points of view. Each author has up to 800 words and 10 references to outline their initial viewpoint, and then 400 words and 5 references to respond to the opposing viewpoint. We encourage each author to include a display item (a figure, photo, or illustration), which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

Policy Platform

These articles provide a platform to discuss specific policies that could improve the lives of those at risk of, or affected by, the NTDs. New and specific policy proposals that arise from high-level national or international meetings will be considered for this section, but we will not publish traditional "meeting reports." These articles are usually 2,000 words, with up to 25 references. In very exceptional circumstances (i.e., when the article is of particular public-health importance), we will give authors a higher word limit, but this must be negotiated with the editors ahead of writing the article. We encourage all authors to include 3-5 display items (figures, photos, illustrations), which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

Review

In these articles, the author reviews the best available evidence on a topic relevant to the NTDs community. Authors must include a short abstract and a brief "Methods" section that tells readers how they searched and appraised the literature in preparing the review. The word limit is 3,000 words, with 50-80 references. In very exceptional circumstances (i.e., when the article is of particular public-health importance), we will give authors a higher word limit, but this must be negotiated with the editors ahead of writing the article. Authors must include two boxes:

  • A box that lists the 3-5 key learning points in their review
  • A box that lists the 5 key papers in the field

We encourage all authors to include 3-5 display items (figures, tables, photos, or illustrations), which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

Expert Commentary

In this article, we commission an expert to comment on a Research Article published in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases. The author will usually be the Academic Editor who oversaw the peer review of the Research Article, or one of the peer reviewers. The word limit is 1,000 words, with up to 15 references. We may also commission expert commentaries on research papers in other journals, provided that these papers are freely available online. We encourage all authors to include a display item (a figure, photo, or illustration), which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

From Innovation to Application

These short articles (1,000 words, 10 references) discuss new technologies, such as drugs, vaccines, and diagnostics, relevant to NTDs. Authors are asked to take an objective and critical view, and they should include a box that lists up to 3 advantages and 3 disadvantages of the new technology. We will ask for a second box or table depending on what kind of tool is described (for example, if the tool is a new diagnostic tool, we will ask for a table that gives the sensitivity and specificity of the new tool compared with the existing gold standard). Authors with competing interests related to the technology (e.g., financial ties) will not be allowed to write for this section. We encourage all authors to include a display item (a figure, photo, or illustration), which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

Photo Quiz

These articles provide question-and-answer challenges that illustrate a key clinical issue in the diagnosis, management, or prevention of a neglected tropical disease. Submissions should follow this format:

  • Case Discussion and Question
    1. Initial brief presentation of a clinical case with key images that invite a diagnosis from the reader.
    2. The question portion may state the history of the case and note the findings and the outcome, but it should not provide the diagnosis. The case presentation and question should be written in a single paragraph of no more than 150 words and should be accompanied by no more than 2 images/figures. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.
    3. Similar to the Clinical Symposium manuscripts, authors must obtain written consent from the patient using our consent form (also available in French, Portuguese, and Spanish).
  • Answer/Discussion. The Answer section should give the diagnosis, followed by a discussion of the most relevant clinical issues (no more than 1,200 words).
  • Key Learning Points. Authors must include a box that lists 3-5 key learning points of the case, similar to other clinical sections of PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases.
  • References. No more than 10 references.

Symposium

This section has four sub-types:

  • Laboratory Symposium
  • Clinical Symposium
  • Control Symposium
  • Social, Cultural, Economic Symposium

In each case, the article begins by presenting a short "real-world" problem or challenge, and then uses this problem as the basis for an educational piece of up to 2,000 words, with 25 references. Further details for each type of symposium are given below:

Laboratory Symposium

These are problem-based learning articles, up to 2,000 words long. They begin with a description of a "real-world" problem (not a hypothetical one), which will be in the form of a set of laboratory results (e.g., microscopy, hematology results, drug susceptibility tests, alternative diagnoses) that are interesting, illuminating, or unusual and that will appeal to the journal’s wider audience. This is then followed by a tutorial in the form of a series of questions and answers that help readers make sense of, and learn from, this set of laboratory results. Authors must include a box that lists the 3-5 key learning points of the article. We cannot publish any data that would identify a patient unless we have the patient’s written consent, using our consent form (also available in French, Portuguese, and Spanish). We encourage all authors to include 3-5 display items (figures, photos, illustrations), which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

Clinical Symposium

There are two types of article that we will publish in the Clinical Symposium section:

  • Case-based learning articles, up to 2,000 words long. These begin with a description of how the patient presented, under the heading "Description of Case." This is then followed by a tutorial in the form of clinical questions and answers interspersed with further details of the case. An example of how this type of article is structured is at http://dx.doi.org/10.1371/journal.pmed.0020229. The title should succinctly describe the problem but should not reveal the diagnosis (e.g., "A 17-Year-Old with Gradual Onset Blindness" or "A 45-Year-Old Woman with Chronic Itching"). Authors must obtain written consent from the patient using our consent form (also available in French, Portuguese, and Spanish). Authors must include a box that lists the 3-5 key learning points of the article. We strongly recommend that authors include examples of the patient’s investigations (e.g., imaging, electrocardiograms, a video of the patient’s clinical signs), all of which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License.
  • Case reports, up to 1,000 words long. Case reports will not be commissioned. To inquire about submitting a case report, please e-mail plosntds [at] plos.org. Authors must obtain written consent from the patient using our consent form (also available in French, Portuguese, and Spanish). We will publish only cases that contain a valuable lesson or clinical reminder, and authors must include a box that lists the 3-5 key learning points of the article. An example of how case reports in PLOS Neglected Tropical Diseases should be structured is at http://dx.doi.org/doi:10.1371/journal.pmed.0010015. We strongly recommend that authors include examples of the patient’s investigations (e.g., imaging, electrocardiograms, a video of the patient’s clinical signs), all of which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

Control Symposium

These are problem-based learning articles, up to 2,000 words long. They begin with a description of a "real-world" disease control challenge (i.e., at the community level, not the individual level). This is then followed by a tutorial in the form of a series of questions and answers that help readers understand how to tackle this type of control problem. Authors must include a box that lists the 3-5 key learning points of the article. We cannot publish any data that would identify a patient unless we have the patient’s written consent, using our consent form (also available in French, Portuguese, and Spanish). We encourage all authors to include 3-5 display items (figures, photos, illustrations), which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

Social, Cultural, Economic Symposium

These are problem-based learning articles, up to 2,000 words long. They begin with a description of a "real-world" scenario with social, cultural, or economic implications. Examples include: the case of a woman with lymphatic filariasis whose family is too afraid to touch her; an African community that declines to allow mass drug administration because of culturally based suspicions of "Western" medicine; the case of a man blinded by trachoma or onchocerciasis who can no longer provide for his family; or the case of a boy with chronic hookworm infection with chronic stunting and cognitive difficulties. The description of the scenario is then followed by a tutorial in the form of a series of questions and answers that help readers understand how to approach such social, cultural, and economic concerns. Authors must include a box that lists the 3-5 key learning points of the article. We cannot publish any data that would identify a patient unless we have the patient’s written consent, using our consent form (also available in French, Portuguese, and Spanish). We encourage all authors to include 3-5 display items (figures, photos, illustrations), which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

Historical Profiles and Perspectives

These articles look back in history to discuss a notable figure or a control program that worked or failed. Articles should be up to 1,500 words, with 15 references. We encourage all authors to include a display item (figure, photo, illustration), which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License. Please see Guidelines for Table and Figure Preparation.

Interviews

These articles are up to 1,000 words long, and the author interviews a person who has made an important contribution to the fight against NTDs. We encourage the author to include a photo of the interviewee, which will be published under the Creative Commons Attribution License.

11. Overview of the Production Process

Before formal acceptance, the manuscript will be checked by PLOS staff to ensure that it complies with all essential format requirements. The authors' files are then carefully tagged to generate XML and PDF files, but will not be subject to detailed copyediting.

Once an article has been accepted for publication, the manuscript files are transferred into our production system and will be published in PDF and HTML formats, with an XML download option. Articles will also be archived in PubMed Central.

12. Embargoes and the Media

Authors are of course at liberty to present and discuss their findings ahead of publication: at medical or scientific conferences, on preprint servers, and in blogs, wikis and other informal communication channels. We recommend, however, that authors not contact the media or respond to such contact unless an article has been accepted for publication and an embargo date has been established. Respect for press embargoes will help to ensure that your work is reported accurately in the popular media, and that the full peer-reviewed paper is freely available to any interested reader when the news item is published. If a journalist has covered a piece of work ahead of publication, this will not affect consideration of the work for publication. See also our embargo guidelines for journalists.