Reviews for "PLoS ONE"

Journal title Average duration Review reports
(1st review rnd.)
(click to go to journal page) 1st rev. rnd Tot. handling Im. rejection Number Quality Overall rating Outcome Year
PLoS ONE Drawn back before first editorial decision after 80 days Drawn back 2021
Motivation: After the manuscript had not been assigned to an editor in almost 3 months, we, unfortunately, had to make the decision to withdraw and submit to another journal. We asked repeatedly about the hold-up and were assured that they were doing their best to find an editor. However, the duration of this process made us question if they were able to find an editor at all, so we decided to withdraw.
PLoS ONE Drawn back before first editorial decision after 100 days Drawn back 2021
Motivation: The submission process is clear and easy. However, after submission everything went downhill. After the manuscript had been stuck in "editor invited" for 2 months, we contacted the journal if we could help find an editor, and received a boilerplate answer that "our paper had their full attention". After another 5 weeks without a change in status, we decided to withdraw the manuscript.
After the initial request to withdraw, we did not hear back from the journal. It took 15 days and 4 emails to finally receive an answer and for the manuscript to be confirmed as withdrawn.
PLoS ONE 3.6
weeks
3.6
weeks
n/a 2 3
(good)
4
(very good)
Rejected 2021
Motivation: We received a rejection after the peer review. The process was quick and fast (<1 month). The review reports were detailed and I do appreciate the comments from the reviewer.
PLoS ONE Drawn back before first editorial decision after 135 days Drawn back 2022
Motivation: I wasted nearly five months waiting for PLOS ONE, and as far as I can tell they never even secured reviewers for the manuscript.

I've been in this business a long time, with 200+ publications and 20,000+ citations. This ain't exactly my first rodeo. But I've never had a publishing experience quite like this before... and I sure hope that I never do again.


Here's the paper trail!

____________________________________________________________
Me to PLOS ONE (3.5 months after submission):
This manuscript has been under consideration for over twice as long as PLOS ONE's reported median time to first decision. I know that these are pandemic times. Nonetheless, for planning purposes I would like to ask when I should expect to hear back concerning this paper.

____________________________________________________________
PLOS ONE to me (a few days later):
"Thank you for following up and apologies for the delay. The Academic Editor assigned to your manuscript is unfortunately having trouble securing reviewers. This can sometimes happen if, for instance, the reviewers with the appropriate expertise are temporarily unavailable. However, we have reached out to the Academic Editor to help the peer review process proceed smoothly.

If you have any additional reviewer suggestions, we welcome your input. I can pass them along to the Academic Editor for consideration.

Please be assured that we are monitoring the progress of your manuscript and will be in touch again when the Editor has rendered a decision.

If there's anything else I can do to help in the meantime, don't hesitate to reach out.

Kind regards,
Amiel Yebsen G. Pimentel

____________________________________________________________
me to PLOS ONE (immediately after receiving the message above):
Dear Dr. Pimentel,

Thanks for your message, but.... *what*???

It seems that you are telling me that after nearly four months, Plos ONE has not even assigned reviewers for this manuscript. In my over 40 years in academic publishing -- as an author, reviewer, and AE -- I have never heard of such a situation.

If, as you say, Plos ONE has been "monitoring the progress" of the manuscript, how could this situation possibly develop?

You say, "If there's anything else I can do to help in the meantime, don't hesitate to reach out." OK, I'm reaching out. The first thing you can do is to provide a lot more information about the current situation (like a timeline of what has happened with the manuscript so far -- which many other OA journals provide automatically, for all submissions). The second thing you can do is provide regular updates on what is happening with the manuscript going forward.

Given the history of this case so far, saying only that you "will be in touch again when the Editor has rendered a decision" (which could be, at this rate, several years from now?) is not nearly enough.

Your web site promises that "The journal office will follow up... and keep you informed if there are delays". That has clearly not happened here.

____________________________________________________________
PLOS ONE to me (a few days later):
Thank you for reaching out. I've passed your message onto a senior colleague, who will follow up on this matter shortly.

If you have any questions in the meantime, please don't hesitate to let me know.

Kind regards,

Naomi De Guzman

____________________________________________________________
me to PLOS ONE (after hearing nothing for a week):
You sent this message a week ago, and since then it's been radio silence from Plos One.

What does Plos One mean by following up on a matter "shortly"?

I have been involved in scientific publishing for years, and I have never seen anything like this. I wanted to believe that the horror stories at https://scirev.org/reviews/plos-one/ were anomalies, but I am starting to see where they come from.


____________________________________________________________
me to PLOS ONE (after hearing nothing for almost two more weeks):
It is now over four months since submission, and apparently you have not even secured reviewers for this manuscript yet.

I heard absolutely nothing about the status of this manuscript until I queried you on February 13th.

On February 18th, you wrote to me saying "I've passed your message onto a senior colleague, who will follow up on this matter shortly."

I heard absolutely nothing, so a week later I queried you to ask what you meant by "shortly".

Nearly two more weeks have passed, with absolutely no follow-up from your side.

I have been active in scientific publishing for decades -- as an author, editor, and reviewer -- and I have never seen anything like this.

I am therefore withdrawing my manuscript and will be submitting it elsewhere.

This has been a huge waste of time and I will be warning colleagues about my experience with PLoS ONE.



PLoS ONE 34.3
weeks
34.3
weeks
n/a 1 3
(good)
0
(very bad)
Rejected 2022
Motivation: After submission, our manuscript had to wait about 5 months even without being assigned to an editor. After about 3 months of review, we got only 1 review of rejection.
PLoS ONE 8.4
weeks
12.4
weeks
n/a 2 4
(very good)
4
(very good)
Accepted 2020
PLoS ONE 3.4
weeks
5.4
weeks
n/a 3 4
(very good)
4
(very good)
Accepted 2021
Motivation: Smooth from the beginning to the end; some useful comments from the reviewers.
PLoS ONE 17.1
weeks
17.9
weeks
n/a 2 4
(very good)
4
(very good)
Accepted 2021
Motivation: Clear communication from the editorial office and the editor and reviewers provided very helpful suggestions on how to improve the paper.
PLoS ONE 24.0
weeks
24.0
weeks
n/a 2 3
(good)
1
(bad)
Rejected 2020
Motivation: The reviewers' comments could have easily been addressed, but the editor did not give us this opportunity. This shows a lack of respect for the reviewers' time and expertise.
PLoS ONE 8.9
weeks
9.4
weeks
n/a 3 4
(very good)
3
(good)
Accepted 2020
Motivation: Overall, the review process was great. The reviewer reports were helpful and the revised manuscript was much improved through their feedback. The initial reviewer reports took some time to be received due to the original handling editor taking a leave (thus, needing a new handling editor), but the process was extremely quick following the assignment of a new editor. Overall, I am pleased with the process.
PLoS ONE 52.3
weeks
52.3
weeks
n/a 1 1
(bad)
0
(very bad)
Drawn back 2020
Motivation: Our experience with PLoS One was a disaster. The manuscript was re-assigned to different editors multiple times and after 1 year we decided to withdraw the manuscript because we never received a first decision. Upon withdrawing the manuscript the journal provided us with the comments from one reviewer. Interaction with the journal was infuriating and 9/10 times we just got boilerplate responses.
PLoS ONE 23.6
weeks
23.6
weeks
n/a 1 1
(bad)
0
(very bad)
Rejected 2020
Motivation: They have spent much time to make the first decision
PLoS ONE 3.9
weeks
9.9
weeks
n/a 2 4
(very good)
5
(excellent)
Accepted 2019
PLoS ONE 25.9
weeks
27.9
weeks
n/a 2 3
(good)
0
(very bad)
Rejected 2019
Motivation: It took over 4 months to assign an editor. The assigned editor withdrew twice. The reviewers needed another 2 months to respond. Via an appeal we were allowed to send a second revision as one of the reviewer’s response on the revision was in contrast to the original response. It took another 5 months to process the appeal again PlosOne had problems assigning an editor. So in total it took 14 months to receive a rejection.
PLoS ONE n/a n/a 9.0
days
n/a n/a n/a Rejected (im.) 2020
PLoS ONE 15.1
weeks
15.1
weeks
n/a 2 0
(very bad)
0
(very bad)
Rejected 2019
Motivation: Trash journal. One reviewer had minor revisions recommended, the other major. Editor then took the liberty to reject it outright, without any helpful feedback, and then refused to provide any useful feedback when approached. Very slow process and ultimately a huge waste of time. Do not submit here.
PLoS ONE 12.7
weeks
15.7
weeks
n/a 2 3
(good)
3
(good)
Accepted 2019
Motivation: The review process took quite long.
PLoS ONE n/a n/a 2.0
days
n/a n/a n/a Rejected (im.) 2018
PLoS ONE n/a n/a 4.0
days
n/a n/a n/a Rejected (im.) 2019
PLoS ONE 10.8
weeks
21.2
weeks
n/a 2 3
(good)
0
(very bad)
Accepted 2019
Motivation: A total review time of 5.5 months seems unreasonable (our editing contributed about 1 month to this). When the first round of edits are purely editorial, one might expect that the AE would make the call at that point rather than sending the manuscript out for a second round. When the second round of reviews consists of one review with comments that were addressed in under an hour by a find-and-replace and the addition of a single line to the text such that the manuscript was resubmitted within hours of receiving the "reviews", the AE should certainly make the call at that point. When the third round of reviews consist of no comments, one might start to wonder about the purpose of the second and third rounds of review. Personally, I started wondering if our bacteria had evolved since the initial submission, and were no longer considered part of the genus.

The one positive was that the invoice arrived in my inbox days after acceptance. Incredibly efficient! Well done, PLoS One.
PLoS ONE 36.3
weeks
45.6
weeks
n/a 3 3
(good)
1
(bad)
Accepted 2019
Motivation: The process took too long.
PLoS ONE 4.4
weeks
4.4
weeks
n/a 2 2
(moderate)
2
(moderate)
Rejected 2019
Motivation: The reviewer commented that the results are over-interpreted and the conclusions are not supported by data. However, the reviewer didn't offer reason.
PLoS ONE 13.1
weeks
13.1
weeks
n/a 1 1
(bad)
1
(bad)
Rejected 2018
Motivation: I submitted my manuscript and the initial process was very slow. I got periodic responses that appeared to be automatic form letters and/or that they were having trouble finding an academic editor and reviewers. Eventually I received a rejection. However that decision was based on the comments from 1 reviewer and it was apparent that the paper was not read, nor were the comments about the content of the submission nor were the reasons for rejection, logical. Consequently I appealed the decision. That was a mistake because it took an additional 7 months to get a decision. I would get periodic emails apologizing for the delays indicating that a decision would come soon. Eventually following numerous email exchanges, I demanded that a decision be made. A week later the paper was rejected based on the opinion of one reviewer.. Having published numerous papers over the years I was disappointed but can accept the decisions. However no paper should take 10 months from submission to final decision, and one would expect that if reviews come back that are poor themselves, an additional reviewer would be identified.
PLoS ONE 7.0
weeks
10.9
weeks
n/a 2 4
(very good)
4
(very good)
Accepted 2019
PLoS ONE 7.9
weeks
15.4
weeks
n/a 2 4
(very good)
4
(very good)
Accepted 2019
Motivation: I have seen comments stating that the Plos One editorial process is quite slow, but while it did take a while for us to publish, it had more to do with addressing the reviewers comments than the editorial process itself. The comments were quite helpful, and the manuscript was greatly improved because of them. It was quite clear that our manuscript was evaluated by specialists in our subject area.
PLoS ONE 6.1
weeks
12.6
weeks
n/a 3 2
(moderate)
1
(bad)
Rejected 2019
Motivation: Reviewer 1 said paper was great and should be published
Reviewer 2 asked for clarifications and improvements
Reviewer 3 wrote an illegible, incredibly negative review and clearly did not have sufficient english language skills to understand the paper. Also asked for experiments that would be ethically questionable in most countries.

Regardless, we did our best to respond and altered the manuscript to appease the negative reviewer. The editor sent the paper back to Reviewer 2 and 3. Reviewer 2 was happy with our changes and recommended publish. Reviewer 3, yet again wrote an aggressive, borderline illegible response and recommended reject.

Unfortunately the editor completely ignored two clearly worded, well thought out reviews that recommended publish and went with what could be seen by most as a hostile review. If the editor had bothered to read the review it would be clear that the reviewer was not suitable for the role. We are very disappointed that he allowed this reviewer to have so much sway.
PLoS ONE 11.3
weeks
15.1
weeks
n/a 3 3
(good)
4
(very good)
Accepted 2018
Motivation: The first round decision (i.e., from initial submission to the first round decision following reviews) did take a long time. The quality of the reviews varied, but it helped that the editor got 3 reviewers for my paper. I did get some good feedback and I think it was warranted to have 3 reviewers on this paper. Following the first round of reviews and decision, the length for the remainder of the process was mostly because I took the full time to submit revisions. The editor made timely decisions and also provided very helpful feedback and summaries of the 3 reviewers statements. I did not particularly like the delivery system for the reviews as some of the general fields are not all that helpful. The reviews did greatly improve my paper and I was very happy overall with the process. The process moves very quickly once the article is accepted, which is also very nice. I had a really great editor so that definitely made my experience very positive. It is also helpful that they have the waiver/fee assistance for graduate students that do not have funding to pay the open access/publication fee.
PLoS ONE 8.1
weeks
21.6
weeks
n/a 2 4
(very good)
4
(very good)
Accepted 2018
PLoS ONE 29.0
weeks
54.3
weeks
n/a 1 2
(moderate)
1
(bad)
Drawn back 2018
PLoS ONE 13.0
weeks
15.3
weeks
n/a 2 5
(excellent)
4
(very good)
Accepted 2015
Motivation: the revision process was good, It took 4 month for acceptance. But I found a problem in proof-editing.
PLoS ONE 10.6
weeks
11.1
weeks
n/a 3 4
(very good)
4
(very good)
Accepted 2018
Motivation: Good communication with journal. The three reviewers raised questions that greatly helped us in clarifying our manuscript. Some of the questions raised about our statistical analyses seemed rather basic and perhaps could have been filtered out by the editor. Overall, we were very satisfied with the experience.
PLoS ONE 5.7
weeks
5.7
weeks
n/a 2 5
(excellent)
5
(excellent)
Rejected 2018
Motivation: Only complaint: in our view the reviewer's comments could have been rather easily accommodated in a revision, clearly the editor thought otherwise.
PLoS ONE 13.1
weeks
13.4
weeks
n/a 2 2
(moderate)
3
(good)
Accepted 2013
PLoS ONE 14.1
weeks
14.1
weeks
n/a 2 0
(very bad)
0
(very bad)
Rejected 2018
PLoS ONE n/a n/a 1.0
days
n/a n/a n/a Rejected (im.) 2018
PLoS ONE 6.0
weeks
7.1
weeks
n/a 2 4
(very good)
4
(very good)
Accepted 2018
Motivation: Fast handling of manuscript. One review was very thorough, the second a bit short, but overall both helped to improve the manuscript.
PLoS ONE 11.0
weeks
11.0
weeks
n/a 2 0
(very bad)
0
(very bad)
Rejected 2018
Motivation: I had a very bad experience with submitting in PLoS One. After 5 weeks of revision, we email the editor. She said that she had only one revision and she had asked more than eleven potential reviewers. The entire review process took very long time (11 weeks) and we received one bad revision and another consisting in two lines saying that our work was ok but already published somewhere but the reviewer did not include that reference.
PLoS ONE 33.7
weeks
52.4
weeks
n/a 3 4
(very good)
1
(bad)
Accepted 2018
Motivation: In the overall, review comments were fairly constructive and helpful. However, the editorial process was not that efficient. It took more than six months until the initial decision was rendered. Most of the time, the journal office could not find any AE who shall handle my manuscript and the initial decision was rendered by one of their in-house editors. The review process of the revised manuscript was not that better. The journal office spent nearly a couple of months to invite an AE. I had to email the journal office almost monthly to keep all the things not being forgotten and/or abandoned by the office staff.
PLoS ONE n/a n/a 10.0
days
n/a n/a n/a Rejected (im.) 2018
Motivation: Reason given: Interesting but not to a wide enough audience, also not mechanistic enough.
PLoS ONE 9.3
weeks
15.0
weeks
n/a 2 5
(excellent)
5
(excellent)
Accepted 2018