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A message to our community regarding COVID-19

By Joerg Heber, Editorial Director, PLOS and Editor-in-Chief, PLOS ONE

As the global research community, along with everyone else, adopts measures to slow the spread of the coronavirus, we wanted to update you on how we are dealing with the situation at PLOS.

PLOS Operations

If you have a paper in process at any PLOS journal, it is being processed as normal. 

We are conscious of the challenges that many of you face during this crisis. We will remain supportive and flexible, which may affect individual paper processing times (more below). We are also carefully monitoring the health and well-being of our staff, managing and coordinating workloads, and supporting each other with flexibility. While the situation is far from normal in both of our primary locations (USA and UK), at this point we do not anticipate issues preventing the efficient publishing of our seven journals. We are facilitating the prompt evaluation of any papers related to the coronavirus and resulting pandemic, and all other papers are also being handled as per our standard processes. 

Reassurance for Our Research Communities

We understand that the global research community is significantly but also variably affected by this pandemic, and so we want to provide the following clarifications and reassurance:

To Authors

  • We are flexible regarding turnaround times for revisions and other tasks during this stressful time. Please keep in touch with us if you need any extensions or if you experience any challenges around manuscript preparation; we will work with you.
  • We are fast-tracking all relevant research related to the coronavirus and resulting pandemic, and are processing all other submissions as normal.
  • We are forwarding all submissions and papers related to the outbreak to the World Health Organization for their database of publications on coronavirus.
  • We encourage all researchers to also consider posting a Preprint.
  • Please remember that – across all our journals – we protect primary research studies from being considered “scooped” by closely related, parallel studies recently published in other journals. So, there is no need to rush your research, or revisions, for the sake of being selected for novelty!

To Reviewers

  • If you have agreed to do a review, or would like to do a review, for a PLOS journal but need extra time, please just let us know. 
  • If you can, please review Preprints related to coronavirus directly via the preprint’s commenting options or on the Rapid PreReview server  — this can speed up the review process down the line, as constructive comments may be vetted and used in a review process at a journal (read about PLOS’ initiative) or authors can respond rapidly to comments made
  • In light of the now-limited resources for experimental research due to closed laboratories, we encourage you to carefully consider the need for additional experiments or analyses in revision requests, especially if the conclusions are adequately supported by the data. (Note: while we recommend this for all journals during this crisis, this is always standard practice at PLOS ONE and simply a reminder in this case.)

To Editors

  • Thank you for your continued support of open research and of PLOS. We appreciate that you will have multiple calls on your time, and that at the moment it is hard to predict when these time pressures will occur. We are here to support you, please let us know if you need more time or assistance on any paper you are working on; we will work with you and the authors. 
  • If you would like to temporarily pause from receiving new manuscript invitations, please add your unavailable dates in Editorial Manager (how-to video here).

To you all 

  • The notes above relate to your activities around working on journals. We appreciate and would like to take this moment to thank all of you – authors, reviewers, and editors –  who are on the front lines of fighting the pandemic, and caring for people affected by it.  

To readers: PLOS content related to COVID-19

Please note that all PLOS content is always openly available, reusable, ready for text- and data-mining, and pushed to PubMed Central as standard. We therefore already comply with the recent call from science leaders to make research content open and re-usable. Publishing with us means your content is always ready to support a global crisis, such as the current pandemic, among the myriad other important benefits of Open Access.

PLOS Collection of articles related to coronavirus

As articles publish across our journals they will get added to a collection which we will announce imminently.

The Disease Forecasting and Surveillance Channel
Curated research papers and online commentary from PLOS and other sources, related to new methods, findings, or datasets in the fields of disease forecasting and electronic disease surveillance, with a specific focus on work that has relevance to public health policy. Updated on a 3-week cycle.

Related Blog content

This category link will take you to all current and future Official PLOS Blog content related to coronavirus.

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We wish everyone health, patience, and strength during this difficult time. Please keep in touch with us! Via flexibility and open communication we will all be able to keep research communication moving as closely as possible to a normal process. 

But — please prioritize the health and safety of yourselves, and others in your community, always.

Discussion
  1. Telemedicine is making a very positive contribution to healthcare during the pandemic and is being used in a variety of ways. Thanks for sharing this informative article.

  2. I think we need improved nanotechnologies pertaining to endocytosis of pathogens such as Covid, as well as for iron particles. London has found Covid breaks vessel strings that prevent platelets from clumping. I don’t think we have good enough enforcement of good researcher numbers, to now attempt to genetically engineer new strings on us mid-disease. I do think we should use nanotechnology and weaker biomimetics to make novel phagocytes or otherwise “poison” containers, that can be safely streamed out without causing bladder disease. I also think we need to use MPI to pick good leaders and come together for good decisions. Iron oxide is toxic, so it needs to be a more fragile magnet and/or we need a better way of eliminating from our bodies. The easy system is to select health advisors who do well in wild disease simulations. The next pandemic might have an initial r0 of 8 and be 20% lethal, unless we consume synthetic endocytosis particles beforehand. Synthetic biology and/or gene therapy on the other hand might produce disease effects that can’t be engulfed as a cure.

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