Sometimes I have to put text on a path

Friday, February 27, 2009

PLoS ONE, Organization of the Manuscript

Organization of the Manuscript (

Most articles published in PLoS ONE are organized in one of three fashions:

* Title, Authors, Affiliations, Abstract, Introduction, Results, Discussion, Materials and Methods, Acknowledgments, References, Figure Legends, and Tables.

* Title, Authors, Affiliations, Abstract, Introduction, Methods, Results, Discussion, Acknowledgments, References, Figure Legends, and Tables.

* Title, Authors, Affiliations, Abstract, Introduction, Analysis, Discussion, Acknowledgments, References, Figure Legends, and Tables.


You should include continuous line numbering throughout your manuscript.

Standard Microsoft Word templates are available to help authors prepare their manuscripts. The templates consist of a standard set of headings that make up research articles of various types, with guidance regarding what to include in each section.

Download templates:


Title (150 characters or fewer)

The title should be specific to the project, yet concise. 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.

Detection of Specific Sequences among DNA Fragments Separated by Gel Electrophoresis

During the online submission process, you will also provide a brief "running head" of fewer than 30 characters.

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 author names and affiliations should be listed at the end of the article.


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 should summarize the most important results. The abstract is conceptually divided into the following three sections: Background, Methodology/Principal Findings, and Conclusions/Significance. Please do not include any citations in the abstract. Avoid specialist abbreviations if possible.


Registration details should be included when reporting results of a clinical trial (see "Reporting Clinical Trials" for details). For each location that your trial is registered, please list: name of registry, registry number, and URL of your trial in the registry database.


The introduction should put the focus of the manuscript into a 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.


The results section should provide details of all of the experiments that are required to support the conclusions of the paper. There is no specific word limit for this section. The section may be divided into subsections, each with a concise subheading. Large datasets, including raw data, should be submitted as supporting information files; these are published online alongside the accepted article. We advise that the results section be written in past tense.


The discussion should spell out the major conclusions of the work along with some explanation or speculation on the significance of these conclusions. How do the conclusions affect the existing assumptions and models in the field? How can future research build on these observations? What are the key experiments that must be done? The discussion should be concise and tightly argued. Conclusions firmly established by the presented data, hypotheses supported by the presented data, and speculations suggested by the presented data should be clearly identified as such. The results and discussion may be combined into one section, if desired.

Materials and Methods

This section should provide enough detail to allow full replication of the study by suitably skilled investigators. Protocols for new methods should be included, but well-established protocols may simply be referenced. We encourage authors to submit, as separate supporting information files, detailed protocols for newer or less well-established methods. These are published online only, but are linked to the article and are fully searchable.


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.


Only published or accepted manuscripts should be included in the reference list. Meetings abstracts, conference talks, or 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. All personal communications should be supported by a letter from the relevant authors.

PLoS uses the numbered citation (citation–sequence) method. 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. Multiple citations within a single set of brackets should be separated by commas. Where there are three or more sequential citations, they should be given as a range. Example: "... has been shown previously [1,4–6,22]." Make sure the parts of the manuscript are in the correct order before ordering the citations.

Published Papers
1 Sanger F, Nicklen S, Coulson AR (1977) DNA sequencing with chain-terminating inhibitors. Proc Natl Acad Sci U S A 74: 5463–5467.

Please list the first five authors and then add "et al." if there are additional authors. Use of a DOI number to the full-text article is acceptable as an alternative to or in addition to traditional volume and page numbers.

Accepted Papers
Same as above, but "in press" appears instead of the page numbers. Example: Adv Clin Path. In press.

Electronic Journal Articles 1 Loker WM (1996) "Campesinos" and the crisis of modernization in Latin America. Jour Pol Ecol 3. Available: Accessed 2006 Aug 11.

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

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

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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. The legend itself should be succinct, while still explaining all symbols and abbreviations. Avoid lengthy descriptions of methods.


Tables should be included in the text file, at the very end of the manuscript. 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 occupying more than one printed page should be avoided, if possible. Larger tables can be published as online supporting information. Please ensure that table formatting conforms to our Guidelines for Figure and Table Preparation.

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.

Multimedia files should be smaller than 10 MB in size because of the difficulties that some users will experience in loading or downloading files. Preferred formats for PLoS ONE are:
  • Audio: MP3
  • Video: MOV, progressive download, 320x240px frame size
  • Flash: SWF

Figures, tables, multimedia files, and datasets that make up the supporting information should be referred to in the manuscript with a leading capital S (e.g., Figure S4 for the fourth supporting information figure) and should fall into one of the following categories: Figure, Table, Text, Dataset, Audio, or Video. The numbered title and caption for each supporting information file should be entered into the appropriate fields in the online submission system. The information entered here will appear in the published version, so no supporting information titles or captions should be listed in the manuscript file.


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. 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.

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