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PLOS Privacy Policy


We have recently made some updates to our Privacy Policy that apply to residents in UK and EEA. These changes include:

·       The section on “Sending you Email Communications” has been updated to make it clearer when we may send emails based on our legitimate interests.

·       The section “Additional Terms for European Economic Area Residents” has been modified.

o   We have extended the number of reasons that PLOS may process personal data for its legitimate interests.

o   We have also included links to European and UK Data Protection Authorities under the subsection, “Complaints”. 

Updated on August 4, 2020


Public Library of Science (PLOS) is dedicated to protecting your personal information and will make every reasonable effort to handle collected information appropriately. All information collected will be handled with care in accordance with PLOS’ standards for integrity and objectivity and respect for your privacy. PLOS endeavors to comply with all laws and regulations that apply to the gathering and use of personal information, including US privacy laws and the EU General Data Protection Regulation. This privacy policy describes the information we collect, the purposes for which it is used, and your choices regarding its use. As used in this privacy policy, “we” and “us” includes PLOS and our staff, employees, officers, directors, volunteer editors and reviewers, and vendors and independent contractors under contract with us. “PLOS Sites” includes the following: the web pages and content on the PLOS websites, journal sites, and PLOS or third party tools, software, submission systems, web forms, registration system, and any other means through which we interact with you.


Personal Information

We request personal information from you while interacting with the PLOS Sites, as follows:

  • When you register on a PLOS Site for updates or to receive other types of notifications from us, we will ask for your email address to enable us to send you the information you have requested.
  • If you want to submit a manuscript or other research output to PLOS for consideration or for posting on our sites or as a preprint, we will ask for the following information so that we may consider, process, and possibly publish your manuscript, in conformance with accepted publishing standards: your name, title, telephone number, email address, institution, department, address, and credit card or other payment information. You may voluntarily provide us with additional information to help us identify and contact you, such as your middle name, degree, preferred name, secondary phone number, fax number, position, ORCID iD (Open Researcher and Contributor Identifier), state or province, and areas of interest or expertise. Except for credit card or other payment information, we will ask for the same information if you want to be considered as an editor or reviewer. If you are a corresponding author, we require your ORCID iD to help identify you and connect your work to your ORCID record when an article is published. You can learn more about ORCID iD here.
  • If you want to submit a public comment on our website, we will ask for the following information: email, first name, and last name. Your display name, which is auto-generated to include your first initial, last name and randomly selected number(s), will be made public along with your comment. If you request that your account be deleted, your comment will remain on our website but your display name will no longer be associated with your comment.
  • If you register on a PLOS Site, we will gather and store your username and password to identify you at sign-in and to administer your account.

Additionally, PLOS may process some basic personal information about you (email address, name and research interest) that is publicly available to register you as a potential reviewer and expert or to contact you about publishing with PLOS on a particular topic. If you do not wish to be contacted as a potential reviewer or for possible publication with PLOS, you can email us at We will keep some of your personal information to recall your request not to be contacted in the future.

Finally, we may collect demographic information about you, such as gender and ethnic origin. We usually collect and use this information on an anonymized basis. If you provide demographic information to PLOS, you do so voluntarily and PLOS will collect, store and use your demographic information in accordance with this privacy policy.

Technical Information

By generally visiting or otherwise interacting with the PLOS Sites, we collect, have access to, store and use your computer’s IP address, the URL/domain name of any referring website, the time and date of your visit to the PLOS Sites, and certain information known as “clickstream data” to enable us to understand how people interact with the PLOS Sites, to analyze data for trends and statistics, to help diagnose and solve issues with the PLOS Sites and our technologies, products, and services, and to optimize the performance of the PLOS Sites. We use click view data to provide statistics on articles such as number of views and downloads. We also use session cookies, as described below. From time to time, we use software tools to play back user sessions for our internal use in assessing our customers’ interactions with our software, and these sessions may be linked to your user account.

Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

PLOS and our third-party partners, such as analytics and advertising partners, use cookies and other tracking technologies to collect information.

Background on Cookies

  • Duration. Cookies can be “persistent” or “session” based. Persistent cookies remain on your computer after your browser is closed. Session cookies are deleted automatically once your browser is closed. PLOS only uses session cookies.
  • Category. First party cookies are served directly by us to your computer or device. Third-party cookies are served by a third party on our behalf. The PLOS Sites have both first party and third-party cookies.

Other Tracking Technologies

We also use technologies that are similar to cookies, such as tags. Tags are small portions of code which we use on the PLOS Sites to learn whether you have clicked on certain web content.

How PLOS Uses Cookies and Other Tracking Technologies

  • Where necessary. These cookies are essential to operating the PLOS Sites. They help us, for example, remember that you have logged in, so you are not required to log in each time you visit the PLOS Sites.
  • For functionality. These cookies and other technologies remember your preferences, letting you navigate PLOS Sites efficiently.
  • For performance and analytics. These cookies and technologies analyze how the PLOS Sites are accessed, used, or performing to improve your user experience and to maintain, operate and continually improve the PLOS Sites. For example, we use Google Analytics on the PLOS Sites to collect: page url/page title and user browser/system information, which includes browser type, referrer, language, java/flash support, IP address, and ad-serving data.
  • For advertising. These cookies deliver contextual advertisements on the PLOS Sites and help third-parties serve you targeted advertisements based on your browsing history.

How to Manage Cookies and Analytics

To opt-out of our use of cookies, change your browser settings to stop accepting cookies or to prompt you before accepting cookies from websites you visit. Please note that by not accepting cookies, some pages may not fully function and you may not be able to access certain information on the PLOS Sites.

For information on how Google Analytics collects and processes data, visit To opt-out of Google Analytics, visit Google’s “How you can control the information collected by Google on these sites and apps” article available here.


PLOS does not respond to web browser “Do-Not-Track” signals. We do not serve targeted advertisements on the PLOS Sites or otherwise engage in behavioral advertising at this time.

Children’s Privacy

Use of the PLOS Sites is intended for adults at least eighteen (18) years of age and we do not knowingly collect personally-identifying information from children under the age of thirteen (13). 


Use by PLOS

PLOS uses your personal information as described in the “INFORMATION WE COLLECT” section, to customize your experience on the PLOS Sites and facilitate our interactions with you.

If you are an author, we use your personal information for the purpose of processing, reviewing, communicating about, facilitating editorial review and peer review, for publishing, and to facilitate payment of article processing charges.

If you are an editor or reviewer, we use your personal information to contact you about your potential or actual role as an editor or reviewer, to request and facilitate your review and handling of manuscripts, and to update you on news and developments at PLOS as it may affect your work with us.

If an author chooses to publish their peer review history, we make the manuscript review process available to the public when an article is published, including the contents of emails and other communications between reviewers, editors and authors via a PLOS Site.

If you write a blog for the PLOS blog, your name and biography (as provided by you) will be made public.

We may also use your personal information to assist with improving the peer review system and scientific communication, as part of PLOS’s ongoing research program on the processes we use in the course of manuscript handling.

If you provide demographic information to PLOS as described in the “INFORMATION WE COLLECT” section above, then we usually collect and use this information on an anonymized basis so that you will not be identified from it unless we tell you otherwise. We will use that information only for internal diversity tracking purposes.

If you simply visit PLOS Sites to read content, we will use information such as your URL and cookies to provide a good experience, as described in the “INFORMATION WE COLLECT” section.

We may also collect your name, email, address and phone number at conferences or events.

Disclosure to Third Parties

If you submit a manuscript or other research content to us for possible publication, we will send the title and abstract of your manuscript, and your name, to one or more potential external/volunteer editors and reviewers to gauge their interest in reviewing your content. If they agree to review your content, we will send them your full manuscript and any revisions and relevant comments you have provided. If your manuscript is accepted for publication, we share information about you, your manuscript, or other research content as reasonably necessary with volunteer curators and channel managers. In addition to volunteer curators and channel managers, we may share the foregoing information with journalists prior to publication for the purpose of promoting your work.

If you choose to publish your manuscript as a preprint, we send your manuscript to our preprint partner(s) for posting of your manuscript.

If a paper is published or posted as a preprint, the following information appears as part of the paper: author’s name, role, email address, affiliation, ORCID iD, any competing interests, editor’s name, and affiliation. The foregoing information will also be included in the article XML and syndicated to third parties. If you are a reviewer that has voluntarily provided an ORCID iD to PLOS and choose to participate in the ORCID reviewer recognition, we will share general information about your review with your ORCID record, such as the year your review was completed and type of review.

If an author chooses to publish their peer review history, then the contents of emails and other communications between reviewers, editors and authors via a PLOS Site will be made public. If you are a reviewer and provide us with your consent, we will disclose your name as part of the peer review history when an article is published and the author has chosen to publish the peer review history. To remove your name from the peer review history after disclosure to the public, you can email

We may also disclose personal information as reasonably necessary for the purposes described in this privacy policy to other third parties, as follows:

  • Vendors, independent contractors, and consultants to enable us to provide products and services, such as financial institutions (for facilitating payment of fees owed), web and technical support providers (such as hosting providers and customer service and support providers), and third parties who provide syndication and preprints
  • Other publishers
  • Third parties authorized by you to receive such information, such as third parties that facilitate the automatic update of your ORCID record.
  • To respond to claims asserted against us or comply with legal process (e.g., subpoenas or warrants), or lawful requests from government or law enforcement authorities (as required to meet national security or law enforcement requirements), and to enforce or comply with our agreements, terms of use, and this privacy policy
  • Third parties that conduct research for PLOS to improve the peer review system and scientific communication
  • To comply with applicable law, or as required or permitted by law
  • Where it is in our legitimate interests, under relevant law, to run, grow and develop our organization in order to expand the impact of science and medicine
  • If we sell any business or assets, we may disclose your personal information to the buyer of such business or assets
  • If substantially all of our or any of our affiliates’ assets are acquired by a third party, in which case personal information held by us will be one of the transferred assets
  • To protect the safety of any person or to prevent any illegal activity
  • To protect the rights, property, or safety of PLOS, our staff, our users or other persons. This may include exchanging personal information with other organizations for the purposes of fraud protection and credit risk reduction
  • To uphold the integrity of research in cases of suspected research integrity breaches

In some cases, the applications or user interfaces you encounter while on our sites are managed by third parties, who may require that you provide your personal information. We are not responsible for the privacy practices of these third party services or applications. We recommend carefully reviewing the user terms and privacy statement of each third party service, website, and/or application prior to use.

PLOS will never disclose demographic information, described in the “INFORMATION WE COLLECT” section above, to third parties, unless it has been anonymized or otherwise deidentified.

No Sale or Leasing of Your Information

Except as described in the “Disclosure to Third Parties” section of this privacy policy, we will not disclose your personal information to third parties without your consent. We will not sell or lease your personal information to any third party. We may disclose aggregate demographic and statistical information with our business partners; this information is not specific to the identification of you as an individual.


We keep your personal information for as long as is necessary to provide services to you, and for as long as your account and/or registration with PLOS is active. We will retain and use your information as necessary to comply with our legal obligations, to resolve disputes, and to enforce our agreements.


We use reasonable and appropriate physical, technical, and administrative safeguards to protect your information from unauthorized use, access, loss, misuse, alteration, or destruction. We endeavor to protect the personal information we receive, gather and store, by such means as password protection, firewalls and other means. We also require that third party service providers acting on our behalf or with whom we share your information also provide appropriate security measures in accordance with industry standards.

Transmissions over the internet are never entirely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of information you submit via a PLOS Site while it is in transit over the internet. Any such transmission of information by you over the internet is at your own risk.


If, in your interactions with the PLOS Sites, you are linked or directed to, or click on, a third party website, we cannot control what information you may provide to that party or on/at that website, and are not responsible for how that party may use or disclose any information you may provide to them. As such, we urge that you exercise caution before providing them with your personal information and to review the third party’s privacy policy for information on its data processing practice.


PLOS may make changes to this privacy policy from time to time. Changes to this privacy policy will be made by updating this page. Please visit this privacy policy regularly to read the current version. If there are material changes to how we use your personal information, we will endeavor to provide you with reasonable notice of such changes, either by prominent notice on or to your email address of record.

Cross Border Transfers

PLOS is headquartered in the United States, with an office in the United Kingdom and service providers both in the United States and throughout the world. As such, PLOS and our service providers may transfer your personal information to, or access it in, jurisdictions that may not provide equivalent levels of data protection as your home jurisdiction. To the extent required by applicable law, PLOS will take measures to protect the cross-border transfer of your information.

If you are located outside the U.S., by submitting personal information to us, you understand this information will be transferred to PLOS in the U.S., which may not have equivalent privacy and data protection laws to the country in which you reside.

If you do not want your personal information transferred to the U.S., please do not submit any information to us or use our services. When PLOS transfers information about European Union citizens outside the European Economic Area, we safeguard the transfer by using of European Commission-approved standard contractual data protection clauses or following an adequacy decision by the EU Commission.


If you reside within the European Economic Area, the following additional terms apply.

Legal Basis for Use of Your Information

The information we require, as identified in the “INFORMATION WE COLLECT” section of this privacy policy, is processed under the following legal basis:

PLOS’s legitimate interests. This includes:

  • to enable PLOS to provide our products and services to you
  • finding and contacting qualified reviewers to ensure the high level of articles published in a PLOS journal, as applicable
  • contacting authors and other academics to ensure they are aware when PLOS is calling for papers for relevant journals
  • to ensure compliance with publishing standards
  • for marketing to individuals at businesses/corporate addresses and to our subscribers, market research and business development
  • for analytics, to gather metrics to better understand how users use the PLOS Sites,  to evaluate and improve the PLOS Sites, and to provide PLOS’ users with this information, where applicable
  • to provide information on PLOS publication fees and other relevant terms with  institutions or consortia, where applicable
  • to prevent fraud and other illegal activity
  • the legitimate interests of others (for example, to ensure the security of our website)
  • to comply with legal obligations, as part of our general business operations, and for other internal business administration purposes
  • if we collect demographic information from you (such as gender and ethnic origin) in order to carry out diversity monitoring and such information is not collected in an anonymous format, then we rely on our legitimate interest to do so.

Contractual obligations. For the performance of contractual obligations between you and PLOS, including the PLOS Terms of Use.

Consent. Where required by law, we may process your personal information in some cases for marketing purposes on the basis of your consent (which you may withdraw at any time after giving it, as described in this privacy policy). Otherwise, email communication will be sent on an opt out basis to any recipient who has registered or signed up to PLOS services and did not opt out.

Your Rights

Deletion of Personal Information

You may be entitled to request that we delete your personal information. If you wish to exercise this right, please submit your request at Your personal information will be deleted but we will retain your request to delete to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim and for our legitimate interest, as described in the “LEGAL BASIS FOR USE OF YOUR INFORMATION” section, in recalling your request to delete.

If you are an author and have submitted a manuscript or other research outputs to PLOS, or you are an editor or reviewer that has reviewed manuscripts or other research outputs submitted to PLOS, your personal data will be deleted except for that personal data that is necessary for PLOS to establish, exercise or defend a legal claim; for archiving scientific research; and for exercising the right of freedom of expression and information. Such personal data includes your name, institutional affiliation, title and email address.

If your article has been published or posted as a preprint, the following additional personal data will be retained for purposes of archiving scientific research: author’s role, ORCID iD, and any competing interests.

Access, Update, Data Portability and Other Rights

You may also be entitled to access your information, update your personal information which is out of date or incorrect, restrict use of your personal information in certain specific circumstances, place a data portability request (applicable only when we use your personal information on the basis of your consent or performance of a contract, and where our use of your information is carried out by automated means), and ask us to consider any valid objections which you have to our use of your personal information where we process it on the basis of our or another person’s legitimate interest. Requests should be directed to

We will consider all such requests and provide our response within a reasonable period (but no longer than 30 days from our receipt of your request unless we tell you we are entitled to a longer period under applicable law). We may require you to verify your identity before we respond to any of your requests. Certain personal information may be exempt from such requests in certain circumstances, as provided for in this privacy policy.


You also have the right to lodge a complaint before a supervisory data protection authority regarding our data processing.

If you are in Europe, an up to date list of data protection authorities is available at If you are in the UK, the data protection authority is the UK Information Commissioner’s Office available at


If you have any questions about this privacy policy, you may contact us at

Prior Versions:
May 22, 2018 update
August 12, 2019 update

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