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Placing Authors at the Center of the Scientific Endeavor

 

PLOS is developing a new submission system to enhance the publishing experience for our community of editors, authors and reviewers. Why are we doing this? The linear, step-by-step process of creating, submitting and reviewing a manuscript simply does not satisfy the needs of scientists today. Large-scale solutions to the current challenges of scientific publishing are not simple, but PLOS believes they are challenges that must be addressed.

PLOS is rooted in responsible disruption, beginning with a community-driven Open Letter, to proving Open Access as a sustainable publishing model and creating PLOS ONE, the world’s first and now largest multidisciplinary journal to accept all rigorous science, independent of perceived impact. The PLOS commitment to transforming research communication is not limited to Open Access to the literature; it includes commitment to Open Data, Open Science and Open Recognition. PLOS was the first organization to develop a suite of Article-Level Metrics for its articles and to enforce the requirement that all published articles be accompanied by accessible relevant data. It was also a key driver behind the global collaboration to award researchers for open publication practices with the Accelerating Science Award Program. With this history of pushing boundaries, coalition building and community respect as a foundation, PLOS is well placed for ongoing innovations that benefit science and the public.

Together with the broader scientific community, we have participated in positive movement on issues of active discussion: reproducibility, data sharing, author credit and shifting valuation of research influence and reach. For some time now we have turned our attention to the core of our organization: how we work with our authors and how our authors work together. Our forthcoming manuscript submission system is the result of improvements we have made both technically and in how we here at PLOS work together. For more details on this read the PLOS Tech blog “A Tech Framework for Innovations in Open Science” by PLOS Chief Technology Officer CJ Rayhill.

To honor and connect our roots in the Open Access movement to the exciting Open Science era ahead, we chose the name Aperta™ for our new submission system. Aperta means Open in Italian and brings with it the association of forthcoming and fairness, qualities that PLOS strives to bring to the process of publishing scientific research.

Aperta brings simplicity and flexibility for improved author productivity and innovations that ease collaboration across global teams, facilitate simultaneous progress on multiple parts of a manuscript by multiple authors and reduce time to publication by decreasing the number of necessary submission versions.

With ongoing development, Aperta will provide an integrated system to expedite, streamline and accommodate future innovations in research communication. Together with early posting of articles and engaged community review, PLOS will be poised to capture, preserve and present the comprehensive conversation surrounding a research work and further accelerate scientific discovery. PLOS is putting researchers at the center of science communication and placing authors in control of their manuscripts.

 

Image Credit: Gerd Altman, Pixabay.com

 

Discussion
  1. The below comment has been edited by PLOS for brevity:

    This isn’t going to be the same as the online submission system for PLOS Currents is it? Because that system is full of bugs, and it is next to impossible to get the manuscript to format correctly…We’ve liked the PLOS journals because they have been a good publishing venue for some of the interdisciplinary research we do. But if you are implementing a system like you’ve implemented for PLOS Currents, we won’t be submitting to your journal any time soon.

  2. We fully acknowledge there are issues with the old technology of the submission system for PLOS Currents, an experimental publishing format, and this is currently on our radar.

    The new system, Aperta, is brand new and based on modern technology. Aperta will give PLOS authors, reviewers, editors and journal staff simplified workflows that remove common stumbling blocks found with other systems. PLOS is dedicated to providing the best publishing experience possible and that’s why we are launching our new system in stages, tuning the system accordingly. This will ensure optimal performance for the scholarly research community. PLOS Biology will be the first of the PLOS journals to implement Aperta; plans are to make it available to all PLOS journals including PLOS Currents.

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