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Ask everyONE: Transfers from other PLoS Journals

We receive many emails from authors, potential authors and readers who have questions about PLoS ONE. Once a month, we will be selecting a frequently asked question and will answer it, in depth, on this blog. To suggest a question, please post in the comments on this post. Of course, if you have any questions and would like an answer right away, you can email us at plosone [at] and one of our team will respond as soon as possible. Here’s our FAQ for April:

My manuscript was rejected from another PLoS journal but the editor suggested I submit to PLoS ONE instead. How can I have my manuscript transferred and how does the transfer process work?

The Public Library of Science publishes seven journals, including PLoS ONE; you can read more about the differences between the journals on our website, which will help you to decide which is the most appropriate journal to submit to. The other PLoS journals are highly selective and their editorial criteria tend to focus on more subjective factors such as the novelty and strength of advance of the paper. If you have submitted to another PLoS journal and the editor considers that your paper is technically sound but, for example, doesn’t provide the degree of advance sought at her journal, she may reject your manuscript but offer you the opportunity to have your manuscript transferred to PLoS ONE where it will then be evaluated by one of our Academic Editors (who will also be able to make use of the reviews you may have already received). This means you won’t need to re-complete the submission form and we will endeavour to evaluate your manuscript as swiftly as possible.

How does the transfer work?

  • Once you let us know that you would like to be considered at PLoS ONE we will transfer your manuscript files and data from the previous PLoS journal into the PLoS ONE manuscript system; you will have the chance to make any changes or revisions to your files or submission data.
  • If you received reports from external referees who reviewed your manuscript for the previous journal, you may wish to revise your manuscript in line with these comments and to upload a point-by-point rebuttal letter alongside your new submission.
  • As the technical requirements vary slightly among the PLoS journals, our editorial staff may ask you to provide some additional information before we can begin the review process at PLoS ONE (for example, to expedite the review process, we will ask you to suggest at least two members of our editorial board who would be appropriate to handle the review of your manuscript). You can read our author guidelines and submission checklist on our website.

How will the review process work at PLoS ONE?

  • We will find a member of our editorial board to act as the Academic Editor (AE) of your manuscript.
  • The AE will have access to any external reviews obtained by the previous PLoS journal (which is why you should be careful to upload a rebuttal letter if you have made any revisions since you received the previous decision).
  • The AE may feel able to assess whether or not your manuscript is suitable for publication in PLoS ONE based on the previous reviewers’ comments and your responses, or based on his own expertise; if so, he will send you a decision letter, along with a list of any necessary revisions.
  • Alternatively, the AE may need to send your manuscript out for further review to external referees, either to the same individuals who reviewed your manuscript at the other PLoS journal or to new reviewers. After appropriate consideration, the AE will send you a decision letter, along with a list of any necessary revisions.

As PLoS ONE is editorially independent from the other PLoS journals, we cannot guarantee that your manuscript will be accepted for publication in PLoS ONE even if another PLoS editor has recommended that you consider submitting your research to PLoS ONE.

What if I sent a presubmission inquiry to another PLoS journal?

Rather than submitting a full manuscript to one of the other PLoS journals, you may have submitted a presubmission inquiry to see whether your manuscript was of potential interest to that journal. If the editor cannot encourage submission of the full manuscript, she may suggest you consider submitting your manuscript to PLoS ONE instead. In this case, we can still transfer your submission data into the PLoS ONE system (to save you re-completing the submission form) and we will then ask you to upload your full manuscript files.

Please note that PLoS ONE does not consider presubmission inquiries, as we do not make decisions based on the type of subjective criteria which might be applied to a presubmission inquiry. All scientific disciplines and all correctly performed and reported science, for example, are of interest to PLoS ONE, and so to judge whether a study has been sufficiently well performed and well documented to permit publication in PLoS ONE, our AEs need to see the full paper.

To read more about PLoS ONE’s editorial criteria and its relationship with the other PLoS journals, visit our website, and to submit your research to PLoS ONE, go to our online submission system. Don’t forget to post the questions you’d like us to answer in future blog posts in the comments on this (or any subsequent Ask everyONE) post!

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