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New Linked Article Types Enable Researchers to Publish Findings as their Work Progresses


New Linked Article Types Enable Researchers to Publish Findings as their Work Progresses

To give researchers the opportunity to tell the full story of their research, PLOS Biology now offers the option to publish in stages that more closely mirror the real-world research process

Rather than reducing months or years’ worth of investigation into the format of a single research article, we’re introducing two new linked article types: Discovery Reports and Update Articles which allow early discoveries to be shared sooner and augmented as investigation– as well as our understanding of the phenomenon–progresses. 


How it works

Discovery Reports and Update Articles allow publication to more closely mirror the process of investigation by providing separate (but linked) outputs for the exploratory phase of research, and subsequent confirmatory phase. Each component article will be linked bidirectionally on our site so that readers can easily see new updates as well the original discovery.

The process begins with a Discovery Report. This is a brief, preliminary research article describing promising early, orthogonally-validated results. As the investigation into the phenomenon continues, the same authors or other research groups can augment the initial report with Update Articles to further elucidate the phenomenon and add mechanistic detail, physiological relevance or other new insights.  


Publication designed for the research process

Discovery is not finite. We are constantly learning, adding to and adjusting our previous understanding as more evidence becomes available. As scientists, we understand that gradual accumulation of information is the nature of the job — you don’t uncover all of the answers at once, but in small steps that build off of each other. We believe the publication process should reflect the way science really works. 

Discovery Reports empower researchers to communicate early results faster than they would normally be able to do when preparing a full-length research article. That enables related research in the field to advance more quickly while giving authors an opportunity to stake a claim on their discoveries and gain an official publication for their academic profiles sooner. Update Articles provide an outlet for continued investigation and make the relationship between new evidence and the work that has come before it clearer. They also pave the way for greater collaboration. 

Update Articles can be linked to the initial Discovery report, even if the work is produced by a different lab. By putting independently conducted investigations in conversation with each other, we can present a more well-rounded view of the emerging work and keep advancements moving swiftly. The result is a kind of living article that evolves as information becomes available and points back to earlier information.

You can find more information about linked articles, including submission requirements, on our site. And of course, stay tuned here for more PLOS Biology updates. 



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