March 1, 2017 Editor’s Note: The Preflight Analysis and Conversion Engine (PACE) tool for figures is fully up and available for author’s use. As you review and prepare your figures for submission, PACE can help you achieve high publication quality figures by assessing whether your figures meet most of our technical requirements. PACE can also convert figures to TIFF format and rename figures to meet PLOS naming conventions. You should still review your figures after PACE assessment to ensure that they adhere to all figure requirements and that they are not blurry or difficult to read.
To use PACE, first register as a user then follow the instructions on the site for assessing and converting your figure files. You can access the tool from http://pace.apexcovantage.com or by clicking on the PACE link on our Figures Guidelines pages. If you have general questions about figures, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Note that although our staff can offer guidance and advice, PLOS does not provide graphics services. Preparation and final quality of figures is the responsibility of the author.
PLOS has recently updated our formatting requirements for submitted manuscripts across all seven of our journals. These changes allow us to streamline some of our production work, reducing the overall time to publication for the average article.
As an author, you can help your manuscript move quickly and smoothly through our editorial and production process by properly formatting your submission. Where these guidelines are not followed, the manuscript may be returned to you before we can proceed with an accept decision, and this will slow the time to publication.
Read below about some of the key changes, or use our author guidelines located at the end of this post for a full picture of how to submit and prepare your submission.
PLOS has updated some of our figure requirements, most notably regarding naming conventions for citations, captions and files themselves. Below is a quick snapshot of these changes, but read our Figure Guidelines for our full requirements:
- Refer to your figure in-text citations as “Fig. #”, for instance, “Fig. 1” or “Fig. 2”.
- Ensure that your figure file names also match this formatting, as “Fig#.file extension”. For example, “Fig1.tif” or “Fig2.eps”.
- Each figure should be single page.
- Place your figure legends after the paragraph where the figure is first cited.
We are working with one of our vendors on a new tool that will allow authors to easily check their figures for compliance, and in some cases automatically format the figures themselves. The tool is in testing now, and we hope to make it available to authors as soon as possible.
New Reference Style
PLOS has adopted a standard reference style, NLM/ICMJE. Please ensure your reference list is properly formatted to this style guide. You can also download the PLOS reference style at EndNote.
Tables and boxes should now be placed with their legends in the text of the manuscript, after the paragraph where the table is first cited. This will allow for faster processing as well as easier reading for our editors and reviewers. Please be sure your tables are cell-based in Word, or embedded from Excel.
Supporting Information in-text citations and captions should meet PLOS’ standard style, which is “S# Category”. Common categories include Appendix, Checklist, Dataset, Figure, File, Movie, Protocol, Supporting Information, Table, Text, Video. For example, “S1 Appendix” or “S2 Table”
The file name should also match the format of the in-text citation and the caption, as “S#_Category.file extension”. For example “S1_Appendix.doc” or “S2_Table.xls”.
In order to provide better services for authors writing in LaTeX, PLOS has revised our LaTeX template to allow for much greater flexibility in handling packages and macros. Please use this template when preparing your LaTeX submission. For further information on LaTeX submissions to PLOS journals, read through our guidelines. Where this template is not used, the manuscript may be returned to you before we can proceed with an accept decision, and this will slow the time to publication.
Our staff will be available to assist you as your manuscript moves through our review process, and if accepted, through our composition process. Thank you for your support of PLOS and open-access.