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At PLoS ONE we’re batty about Bats

Every month, PLoS ONE focuses on a particular topic where we publish a significant volume of work. This month we are focusing on Bat research which broadly falls into 2 categories, Physiology/Behaviour and Disease/Epidemiology – we have analyzed our top papers in the field in terms of viewing patterns, citations and media/blog coverage.

From this analysis, the paper entitled Marburg Virus Infection Detected in a Common African Bat by Towner et al, was the most viewed of this group (Source: Google Analytics) and the most cited by other scientists (Source: Google Scholar). It also received nice blog coverage, for example, this post by Tara C. Smith in the blog Aetiology

From the same analysis, the paper entitled Accelerated FoxP2 Evolution in Echolocating Bats by Li et al, had our second highest number of unique page views of all Bat papers and also received a good deal of coverage in the blog community:


As the Managing Editor of PLoS ONE, I am always interested to know what motivates our authors to publish with us and find out more about their research. A good way to do this is to interview the authors of these high profile papers, and so we asked Stephen J. Rossiter, from the University of London (the corresponding author of this paper) why he and his team chose PLoS ONE to publish this work. He said:

“We were attracted to PLoS ONE for its quick publishing, open source ethos and the lack of limit on the manuscript length. We are pleased that in spite of being published only last year, our paper has already been cited three times”.

We are also always interested in learning about the publication process that our authors experienced and whether they would do it again. In this case, the reply was:

“When we first submitted our paper to PLoS ONE, we were slightly concerned that its content might not be reviewed beyond an appraisal of its methodological competency. Not a bit of it – the paper received two very thorough and constructive reviews by leaders in the field, which were as rigorous as any that we have seen from top-ranking journals”.

Finally, we sought the author’s perspective on why they think that a paper is so highly read; the impact it made on the field at the time and how the field and their role in it has moved on since publication:

“The story of FoxP2 exemplifies how genes of medical significance can help shed light on evolutionary processes, and vice versa. Variation in FoxP2 is linked to speech coordination defects in humans, but seems to correlate with the origin of echolocation in bats. These results then led us to discover that the cochlea gene Prestin, which underpins high frequency hearing in mammals and is linked to human deafness, has undergone convergence in lineages of echolocating bats”.

Overall, we clearly delivered an excellent publishing experience for these authors, and we are certainly pleased that their work is receiving so much positive attention in the community.

Naturally, I wanted our Bat focus to either coincide with the release of the latest Batman movie or with Halloween, but like a small mammal flapping just out of reach, both dates eluded us. We hope that this won’t put you off from sending your work to us and receiving a similarly satisfying publication experience.

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