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PLOS ONE’s array of publication options that push the boundaries of Open Science continues to expand. We’re happy to announce two new article types that improve reproducibility and transparency, and allow researchers to receive credit for their contributions to study design: Lab Protocols and Study Protocols.
These new article types complement other Open Science developments at PLOS ONE, such as Registered Reports, and support PLOS’ mission to accelerate progress in science and medicine. Adding reliable and accessible methods that can be built upon to the scientific record, Lab and Study Protocols support robust, reproducible science. As reproducible science helps accelerate discoveries, such contributions deserve notice.
Consisting of a single article published in PLOS ONE, Study Protocols describe detailed plans and proposals for research projects that have not yet generated results. Sharing a study’s design and analysis plan before the research is conducted improves research quality by reducing the potential for bias, and credits researchers for the work that occurs prior to data collection. Additionally, studies that were peer reviewed as part of the funding process can be eligible for expedited publication.
Already well-established in health-related fields, we’re opening the format to the natural sciences, medicine, and engineering, as well as the related social sciences and humanities. In fact, both Lab and Study Protocols are open to submissions within PLOS ONE’s inclusive scope, and are subject to our normal publication criteria.
Lab and Study Protocols from PLOS ONE provide new opportunities for researchers to gain more recognition for the work that goes into contributing detailed methods.Share on Twitter!
Developed with researchers and in partnership with the protocols.io team, Lab Protocols consist of two interlinked components that together describe verified, reusable methods:
- A step-by-step protocol on protocols.io, with access to specialized tools for communicating methodological details and facilitating use of the protocol, including reagents, measurements, formulae, video clips and dynamic flow charts.
- A peer-reviewed PLOS ONE article contextualizing the protocol, with sample datasets and sections discussing applications, limitations and expected results.
This two-part setup provides the best of both worlds for authors: the detailed, step-by-step guidance is held on protocol.io’s flexible open access platform, and the article in PLOS ONE helps increase the visibility and discoverability of the protocol by making it an official part of the peer-reviewed publication record. The partnership with protocols.io supports authors by clearly communicating technical details in a user-friendly format to support reproducibility.
Access from the PLOS ONE article to protocols.io is seamless, via uniquely-created and clearly marked features of both platforms. The protocol and accompanying article are peer reviewed by subject experts. The method described in a Lab Protocol must have been shown to work in at least one peer-reviewed publication, so readers can be confident that the Lab Protocol will work as described.
Lab Protocols are now open to submissions reporting verified methodologies and computational techniques.
What does it look like?
The protocol on protocols.io and the article on PLOS ONE work together to communicate details required to reproduce a study.
On the left is the protocol on protocols.io. With the details—steps—of the protocol portrayed through interactive features and special tools, authors can effectively communicate complicated lab instructions. On the right is the PLOS ONE article, providing context, assurance of peer review, and increased visibility for the protocol. Both elements of a Lab Protocol will be interlinked and available simultaneously, with peer review of both organised by PLOS ONE and its community of Academic Editors.
Continuing to improve methods papers
Thanks to our partnership with protocols.io, we’re able to offer authors enhanced functionality to share their protocols alongside the features from a peer-reviewed publication. We believe that researchers will really benefit from the dynamic functionality that protocols.io provides, helping pave the way for improved methods papers and increased reproducibility across disciplines.
To help those who are trying protocols.io for the first time, authors of Lab Protocols at PLOS ONE can receive free support from the protocols.io editorial team to upload and format their protocols as part of the publication process in PLOS ONE.