Since 2003, PLOS has published nearly 300,000 research articles, contributing a tremendous body of knowledge to the scientific corpus. However, our roles in scientific communications do not end at the time of publication. PLOS, like many other scholarly publishers, has a Publication Ethics team dedicated to addressing ethics and integrity concerns raised about PLOS content, many of which arise after publication.
There can be little doubt that PLOS One has been a powerhouse in academic publishing but it also can seem beset with publication ethics and research misconduct problems. This deep dive into what’s going on behind the scenes at the publisher is interesting and well worth a read. We have included links to quite a few related items.
Why are these issues not identified before publication
All PLOS research articles are peer-reviewed, but peer review has its limitations. A manuscript is typically evaluated by 2-4 people during pre-publication peer review, whereas after publication it is available to a much broader audience, including collaborators, other researchers, those exploring ethics and integrity in the research literature, and even the press and general public. As open access publications, PLOS articles are freely available for all to read, and each reader views the work through their unique perspective. With many more eyes on the content post-publication, it is perhaps unsurprising that issues may come to light after having slipped unnoticed through peer review.